New jobs as part of development plans

Artists impression'Majestic Wine, Alnwick
Artists impression'Majestic Wine, Alnwick

A worldwide supermarket chain could open a new store in a north Northumberland town, as part of plans to transform a derelict former garage and fuel-station site – creating more than 30 jobs in the process.

Northumberland Estates has unveiled proposals for an Aldi shop, as well as a Majestic Wine outlet, to be built on land on South Road, Alnwick.

Meanwhile, Tesco has announced that its revised plans for a store in Amble, which would bring with it more than 100 much-needed jobs, should be ready for consultation in the autumn, with a view to lodging a scheme by the end of the year.

The Estates’ plans for the former Willis of Alnwick plot went on show to the public for the first time yesterday.

It is envisaged that the Aldi foodstore would be 16,000sq ft, while Majestic Wine would be 3,000sq ft. Landscaping and a new customer car park are also planned.

Colin Barnes, director of planning and development at the Estates, told the Gazette that the scheme had many key benefits.

He said: “The proposed development would create new jobs within the new Aldi foodstore and Majestic unit, along with further construction jobs.

“It would also enhance the range and choice of shopping within Alnwick, bring a prominent, vacant and derelict site back into use and provide a modern, high-quality designed and landscaped scheme.”

Yesterday’s exhibition was part of the public consultation, ahead of a formal planning application. If the scheme is approved, construction could start next year, with the stores opening in late 2014.

Development would bring the site back into use for the first time since Willis of Alnwick closed in 2009.

The Estates purchased the land from Tesco in 2012 and demolition work was carried out shortly after.

If the scheme goes ahead, Aldi would be Alnwick’s fourth supermarket.

The town is currently served by Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Lidl, as well as Iceland and three Co-operative stores, including the one at Willowtree Service Station.

Mr Barnes said: “This new store would be ideally located to serve Alnwick, Amble and Rothbury.”

An Aldi spokesman said the shop would create around 30 jobs.

“The site was chosen to provide residents with immediate access to a local discounter, thereby providing genuine choice and value,” he added.

“We are looking forward to bringing local shoppers brand-like quality products at everyday low prices.”

Majestic Wine, which specialises in the sale of wine by the case, has more than 175 stores across the UK.

No one from the company was available for comment, but Mr Barnes said the store was intended to serve the population of Alnwick and the surrounding area.

Meanwhile, revised plans for Amble’s stalled Tesco store could be out for consultation in the autumn.

Work was due to start in the spring – after previous delays – with the intention of opening before Christmas.

But the company announced earlier this year it was changing the eco-store’s layout, meaning fresh consultation and planning approval is needed.

A Tesco spokesman said the company is fully committed to building the shop in the town, for land north of Queen Street and adjacent to the Braid.