Poll: Another supermarket giant sets its sights on Norwich
12:31 19 October 2012
Archant © 2012
Another major superstore chain has set his sights on Norwich, with the promise of 250 jobs, after Morrisons revealed its plans to move into a site in the city.
The firm hopes to move into a food store off Aylsham Road on the Goff Petroleum and former Hartwells garage site.
The news comes five days after Asda resubmitted plans for a £122m superstore at the former Bally Shoe factory site near Tuckswood, after the initial application was controversially rejected by councillors.
If a planning application is approved, it would be the supermarket giant’s third store in the city, with stores already built in the city centre and in Catton.
Plans have also been put forward for a shop in Fir Covert Road in Taverham, which are believed to be linked to Morrisons.
The supermarket giant said up to 250 jobs would be created, while Goff Petroleum will move the last of its activities at the site to Wymondham.
Mike van den Berg, Morrisons’ development executive, said: “Employing a local workforce that is reflective of the communities we serve has been an intrinsic part of Morrisons’ success story for many years.”
The site will still be owned by Goff Petroleum who will lease the store to the supermarket.
Managing Director Michael Goff, whose family has owned the land since 1880, said: “It is fairly obvious that a fuel distribution base is unsuitable for Aylsham Road.
“It was our intention to gradually move out because it is just socially bad to run that business out of what is a residential area.”
Goff Petroleum still has workshops at the site but they will be moved to the fuel company’s base on Stanfield Road in Wymondham.
It is understood that the fuel firm and Morrisons have been working on the plans for 12 months, and a planning application is expected in the near future.
But before building the supermarket, the fuel depot will have to be cleaned up.
Mr Goff said his firm was working with the council and the Environment Agency to make the site safe.
“There has to be a complete clear up of the site before work can begin,” he said. “Over the last five years we have carried out extensive environmental monitoring and testing.”
Goff Petroleum attempted to redevelop the area in 2007 with new homes and shops.
A planning application was approved by Norwich City Council, but the work did not get off the ground.
Mr Goff blamed the failure on the recession and said they had then been approached by a consultant acting for Morrisons about building a store on the site last year.
His family has had a fuel depot off Aylsham Road since the 1930’s and he is the fourth generation to run the company.
He said his family’s long-running link to the area, meant he was keen to see it developed well.
“I have a duty to the area that it is enhanced,” he said.
Morrisons wrote to city councillors this week inviting them to a public exhibition to view the plans.
•A public exhibition will be held at St Catherine’s Church in Aylsham Road on Thursday October 25 from midday to 6pm and Friday October 26 from 10am to 6.30pm.
What do you think of the plans? Vote online at www.eveningnews24.co.uk