A retail giant has confirmed plans to open a new store in a south east Northumberland town as a supermarket has decided it is moving out.
Morrisons will be moving out of the north of Cramlington at the end of March, but TK Maxx has revealed that it will take over an empty unit at Manor Walks shopping centre. It will occupy a 20,000ft space next to the Marks and Spencer unit as business continues to grow at the centre.
The news comes a fortnight after Tesco announced it would be pulling the plug on its Bedlington store as part of plans to close 43 shops nationwide.
Developers Hammerson said it is looking forward to welcoming TK Maxx to Manor Walks early this year.
Town councillors, who called on both Morrisons and the Job Centre to give any necessary support to Morrisons staff, say it is a glimmer of hope for the community.
Cramlington councillor Wayne Daley, who has campaigned against the closure of Morrisons at the Brockwell Centre, said: “The planned closure of Morrisons is a blow for the local community it serves but also for the 47 jobs it offered local people.
“While I am confident many will be offered work with Morrisons in other locations, it is good to know that some other retailers have massive confidence in Cramlington and I hope that many of the staff who have lost their jobs will apply and be successful with TK Maxx which is soon to open. I am sure we can protect and gain more jobs for local people.
“What I really want is a plan to get the success we have seen at Manor Walks replicated at Brockwell shopping centre, with a vibrant food retailer providing a service to local people around Northburn and the wider area.”
Northumberland County Council leader, Grant Davey, added: “This is a welcome boost for Cramlington and shows that business confidence is beginning to swing upwards. We’re investing significant amounts in our town centres and we see them as a way to create jobs and benefit local communities.
“Residents can be assured that we’ll make sure that we bang the drum for town centres and this investment boost by TK Maxx comes on the back of hard work behind the scenes. The current budget includes multi-million investment plans in town centre’s from Berwick to Blyth and it is time to back our towns.”
Morrisons at the Brockwell Centre will close on March 29, and the new TK Maxx will open this spring.