A DELAY to the start of work on a stalled Amble supermarket development, which will create much-needed jobs, has been described as disappointing and desperate for the town.
Tesco has confirmed that it is still ‘fully committed’ to building the new store, which was halted and placed under review earlier this year in the wake of the company’s bleak festive trading period.
Despite the go-ahead, the construction date has been pushed back in the supermarket giant’s development programme and will not be started in 2012.
Instead, Tesco is planning to commence work in early spring 2013.
While the company has pledged its commitment to the town, there is a feeling of dismay that work on the store, to be located north of Queen Street and adjacent to the Braid, has been postponed.
Amble mayor Coun Leslie Bilboe said: “It is a mixed bag of news. I am pleased that Tesco still wants to come to the town but it is desperate news that it has been delayed for another 12 months.”
Northumberland county councillor Jeff Watson, for Amble West with Warkworth, added that ‘in some ways I am pleased but in some ways I am disappointed that it is taking so long’.
“I think it is something that the town needs. I am pleased that they have committed themselves to Amble but disappointed that they won’t be building until the spring, which means it won’t be open until late spring or even the summer,” he said.
Amble town and county councillor Robert Arckless told the Gazette that it was ‘good news’ for Amble that Tesco was still committed to the town.
He hoped that the store would complement and support existing businesses and help ‘compensate to some degree some of the knocks we have taken recently’.
“The start date is a little bit later than we thought,” he admitted. “But work is planned for towards the end of the financial year, which makes sense. We also have to be realistic.”
Colin Harris, chairman of Amble Business Club, said there was a feeling of ‘disappointment’ that the Tesco work had been postponed.
“The majority of the members were looking forward to the town receiving a lift; both in terms of attracting more people to Amble, but also a new major employer moving into the area after so many recent setbacks,” he said.
But he added: “The uncertainty over the build in recent times was causing delays with decision-makers of businesses looking to move into Amble.
“Now that we have an official word, it will help both existing and new businesses to concentrate on making the most of their enterprises.”
Resident Roger Armsden, who objected to the scheme on a number of grounds including access to the site, said he appreciated the ‘urgent need’ for jobs in Amble and imagined people would be ‘disappointed’ with the delay.
But he said that he hoped the postponement would allow Tesco to look at, what he claims to be, ‘other options for access’ to the site, to avoid a road being built across part of the Braid.
He also fears the store will have a ‘negative impact’ on Queen Street.