HUNDREDS of jobs are set to be created at a superstore on the site of a former primary school.
Supermarket chain Morrisons has confirmed it is working with developer North Blunts Ltd for a store creating 350 permanent jobs on a proposed multi-million pound regeneration scheme in East Durham.
The development team said the Morrisons store will be the “anchor” for the project on the former North Blunts Primary School site, on the edge of Peterlee town centre.
The supermarket plans are part of a wider regeneration package including the revamp of rugby pitches at Helford Road, improved football facilities at Eden Lane and 51 new homes at the ITEC site – 11 of them classed as “affordable homes”.
Development executive Andrew Cooper, for Morrisons, said: “We are looking forward to helping revitalise Peterlee.
“The substantial regeneration package including planned improvements to the rugby and football pitches along with the building of affordable housing in the area is exclusive to the Morrisons and North Blunts proposal.
“We will also be providing much needed large foodstore competition and choice, but with our concentration primarily on fresh food and only a very limited non-food range compared to our large supermarket competitors, a Morrisons store will complement the town’s other shops and businesses.
“Our professional team is already working with North Blunts Ltd with a view to delivering a new store that complements the wider North Blunts scheme as well as the town centre.”
If a planning application for the development is successful, the 37,000sq ft store will include a cafe and petrol station.
The announcement comes after an earlier public consultation exercise found more than half of residents taking part said Peterlee needed another “big four” supermarket.
The developers, who carried out the consultation, claim Morrisons was the preferred foodstore among those taking part in the exercise.
James Ridings, of North Blunts Ltd, said: “It has always been our aim to improve choice and encourage the community to shop in the town centre, creating vibrancy and boosting local business.
“We are delighted that Morrisons has come on board as they share our vision for the regeneration of Peterlee and are fully committed to working in partnership with us and Durham County Council to achieve this. That nearly 40 per cent of our residents also wanted a Morrisons in the area is heartening and we are delighted to be able to respond to residents’ wishes.”
Mr Cooper added: “We are confident that a Morrisons foodstore in this location will be a real asset to the town.
“We are committed to the project and look forward to not only creating new job opportunities, but helping to bring this sustainable regeneration opportunity to the area.”