HUNDREDS of new jobs are set to be created at a new flagship superstore.
Supermarket chain Morrisons has unveiled plans to build a new store providing up to 350 jobs on a derelict site in Armstrong Road, Washington.
The proposal is the latest in a series of planned supermarket developments in what appears to be a retail jobs bonanza for Wearside.
Andrew Cooper, development executive for Morrisons, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to build a new flagship store for Washington.
“The new Morrisons store will create up to 350 new jobs with excellent training and development opportunities targeted squarely at local people.”
“Employing a local workforce that is reflective of the communities we serve has been an intrinsic part of our success story for many years.”
The news comes after Morrisons announced it would back-out of plans for a new store in the Holmeside area of Sunderland city centre last summer.
The supermarket chain is now seeking Wearsiders’ views on the proposals for Washington.
Two pubic exhibitions have been scheduled next week to show residents plans and computer-generated images of the new store.
The development is believed to be proposed for a vacant spot near the Washington B&Q store, part of the former RCA Record factory ground in Armstrong Industrial Estate.
Washington West councillor Dorothy Trueman said the development and jobs would be very welcome for the area if planners considered the scheme appropriate.
“It would definitely be a good thing for the area, anything’s good if it brings jobs,” she said.
“There’s nothing there at the moment, just concrete and trees. It would certainly be an improvement.”
Coun Trueman said the council’s planning officers and development control committees would consider whether or not the scheme was appropriate for the area once a planning application had been submitted.
Mr Cooper said all staff employed at the new Morrisons would have the opportunity to progress “shop floor to the top floor” by developing skills and experience.
He said 80 per cent of Morrisons employees were successful in gaining promotion with the company, 95 per cent of store managers were promoted internally and 30 per cent of senior management started on the shop floor without a university qualification.
“We want to bring these jobs and many other benefits to the people of Washington,” he said.
Mr Cooper added that the new store would be built with “the very latest in terms of our store design and layout” and stock a full range of fresh food and services.
He added: “We are keen to encourage local people to come along to find out more and tell us what they think of the proposed scheme and ask questions.”
•The first public exhibition of the plans takes place at the Clinton Suite of the Mercure George Washington Hotel in Stone Cellar Road, Washington on Wednesday January 25 from 6pm to 8pm.
A second event is due to take place at the Washington Millennium Centre, The Oval, on Thursday, January 26, from 10am to 5.30pm.
LOTS IN STORE FOR SUNDERLAND
THOUSANDS of jobs are set to head to Wearside in a string of new superstore developments announced for the city.
The Morrisons Washington application is the latest in a string of supermarket developments to be announced in recent years.
Work is due to start this year on a new Tesco store employing 400 people as part of a full-scale development of the rundown Sunderland Retail Park in Roker.
Plans have also been submitted for a Tesco in Washington’s Peel retail park, creating 300 jobs at the store and another 300 at units proposed as part of the development.
Sainsbury’s has been granted planning permission to build a new store on the Jennings car dealership site in Riverside Road, Southwick, providing up to 500 jobs.
The chain has also recently revamped and extended both its Washington and Silksworth stores, with dozens of new jobs at each.
Developers Verum Victum Limited has won planning permission to build a new Lidl store and other retail units at the old Jennings site in North Hytlon Road, expected to create 250 jobs.
Morrisons, which has stores in Seaburn and Doxford Park, further expanded into Wearside in 2011 when it took over the Netto store in Castletown, employing 46 staff.
The company announced it would pull-out of a proposed development in the Holmeside area of the city centre last year after Sainsbury’s got the go ahead for the Riverside Road store.