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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Could Asda's move hit Whitehaven economy?

WHITEHAVEN has been dealt a bitter blow this week as Asda announced it is to open a store in Workington.

asda
Asda - plans for a Workington store

The supermarket giant pulled out of a £20million move to Whitehaven’s Ginns site with the promise of 350 jobs in 2008 but there still seemed to be interest in Whitehaven from Asda last year.

But now neighbouring Workington is set to benefit from the jobs boost when the supermarket moves into the town’s Dunmail Park in a new store this winter.

Whitehaven businesses say it spells bad news for the town.

Christine Minnorry, chair of Whitehaven Chamber of Trade, said: “We feel very strongly about this. It is yet another blow for Whitehaven at a time when we are really struggling.”

Adrian Pavey, manager of Millet’s and the former chairman of Whitehaven Chamber of Trade, said: “It’s a shame they (Workington) have got one over on us. I was maybe a lone voice but I said I would welcome a big retailer in our town. This is bad news and just another reason for people to go to Workington rather than Whitehaven.”

And businessman Gerard Richardson said: “We won’t know what this means for Whitehaven until we learn more about Asda’s plans for the town. However, if they have gone for Workington instead of Whitehaven, then I am extremely disappointed and serious questions have to be asked about what went wrong with the Whitehaven plans.”

Bob Collins, Copeland Council’s interim assistant regeneration director, said: “We are obviously disappointed but developments in Workington should not necessarily have to mean a negative impact on Whitehaven’s economy.

“Our own regeneration projects like Albion Square, the Pow Beck Valley development and the planned new bigger Tesco will all increase the footfall in the town and attract inward investment for retail.

“We continue in partnership with the two other landowners at The Ginns to seek appropriate uses for that site. In terms of supermarkets we are in detailed negotiations with Tesco about their desire to expand in Whitehaven on its existing site.”

It has been nearly three years since Tesco first put its expansion plans for Whitehaven on show and a planning application followed in summer 2007. However deliberations over an adjacent transport interchange, the impact of the store on the town and land acquisition issues all led to delays.

This week the council said it was expecting a planning application from Tesco in the next few weeks. Once it is received the council has 13 weeks to make a decision.

“We are in active pre-planning application discussions with Tesco and those are progressing well,” added Mr Collins.

Asda’s new Workington store will stock a full range of Asda products, including the George clothing range and will operate the existing petrol station at the Maryport Road site.

Philip Bartram, property communications manager for Asda, said: “Our plans will create up to 350 new full- and part-time jobs in the local community and Asda will set up a local employment partnership, targeting local job seekers.”

Escalating property prices at the time were said to lead to Asda’s change of heart in Whitehaven’s Ginns site in 2008.

Have your say

Yet another reason to disband Copeland Borough Council and form one County Council or merge with Allerdale they seem to have their act together. They are not obsessed with retaining old world charm, instead they listen to what the public want and provide it.

Posted by Ian Barry on 10 February 2010 at 13:53

Here we are again, Copeland Council = GREED.
Woolworths is still empty due to the council's greed, ASDA goes to our neighboring town due to greed.
When are they going to listen, Whitehaven Residents have ZERO confidence in its council. Where is our voice??? Oh thats right Mr Reid is in Parliament discussing plans for West Cumbria - "The Energy Coast" what a joke. Maybe if Mr Reid concentrated a little less on his "out-of-date" campaign for nuclear waste projects/landfills for our area and more on the residents he represents, something more could be done. I, along with a lot of other residents are absolutely done with this town, once a nice lucrative place to live, now a run down, old hat, pathetic excuse for a town. Judging by the amount of similar comments, i'm not the only one who thinks so.

Posted by Toni on 9 February 2010 at 17:13

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