Mixed reaction to Amble Tesco plans

Artists impressions of plans by Northumberland Estates for a Tesco on The Braid, Amble..
Artists impressions of plans by Northumberland Estates for a Tesco on The Braid, Amble..

A STALLED supermarket development will still go ahead, but work has been delayed until 2013 – sparking a mixed response.

Tesco has confirmed that it will push on next spring with its Amble store, which had been thrown into some doubt earlier this year after it was placed under review in the wake of the company’s bleak festive trading period.

Yesterday Doug Wilson, the supermarket giant’s corporate affairs manager, said: “We are fully committed to bringing our new store to Amble.

“Unfortunately, we have pushed the build back in our development programme and will not be building the store this year.

“We are currently planning to build the store next year starting in early spring 2013.”

The development, to be located north of Queen Street and adjacent to the Braid, is to create 150 much-needed jobs.

So news that Tesco has pledged its commitment to the town has been met with a generally warm response, especially at a time when Amble is still feeling the effects of the former Northumberland Foods factory closure and the continued uncertain future of the Border Laird premises.

But there is a feeling of disappointment that the scheme has been pushed back to next year.

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 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 March 2013, 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 is still committed to the town.

“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: “On behalf of the business club we are disappointed about the news regarding the postponement of the Tesco build until 2013.

“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.

“However 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.”

Amble Town Council had a meeting with Mr Wilson yesterday and members agreed to send a letter to Tesco saying they were pleased that the store would still be going ahead.