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Former Norwich lighting shop which has been vacant for more than two years to open as new Co-op

PUBLISHED: 08:27 17 August 2017 | UPDATED: 09:41 17 August 2017

The vacant unit, on Sprowston Road, has been empty ever since the family-run business relocated in February 2015.  Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The vacant unit, on Sprowston Road, has been empty ever since the family-run business relocated in February 2015. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

A former Norwich lighting shop which has been vacant for more than two years is to reopen as a supermarket today.

The site, when it was occupied by Rush lighting.Photo: Steve Adams The site, when it was occupied by Rush lighting.Photo: Steve Adams

The Co-op said it had invested £660,000 in the new 2,900 sq ft convenience store on Sprowston Road, which was previously home to Rush Lighting.

The supermarket said it will create up to 15 new jobs.

The site, near to the Gertrude Road junction, has been vacant ever since the lighting company relocated in February 2015.

Sainsbury’s had initially proposed to open a new convenience store on the site, but changed its mind in May 2016.

At the time it said it was due to “commercial reasons”.

The company had been working with site owner Roger Rush on the development for more than 18 months prior to it pulling out.

Sam Winter, Co-op area manager, said: “The Co-op is committed to transforming and growing its convenience business and we are delighted to be making such a significant investment in Norwich.

“We have had great feedback already, the new store looks great and it really is an exciting time for the whole team.”

Co-op said the new store will also provide a funding boost for local good causes through its membership scheme.

Money from the scheme will go towards Norfolk Lowland Search and Rescue, which is raising funds for first responder medical kits, Norwich Foodbank and SERV Norfolk, which is raising funds for two new motorcycles.

The original supermarket plans, which also included the erection of two flats, were first submitted to Norwich City Council in 2013.

But in June that year they were turned down by a planning committee.

Mr Rush appealed against the decision and, a year later, the proposals were given the go-ahead by a planning inspector.

While the two flats are now occupied, the ground floor space has been vacant for more than two years.

Speaking earlier this year, Mr Rush said the new supermarket would come as a relief to residents.

He said: “So many people were disappointed around here when Sainsbury’s changed its mind.

“I felt sorry for them because a lot of older people had been looking forward to a shop opening. But it has been out of my control.”

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