Monday, October 22, 2012
A Tuckswood grandmother has appealed for an Asda superstore in Norwich to be given the green light to provide jobs for her family and others like them.
Janice Lewis says people living near her – including her own children – are eager to work and the new development would throw the area an employment lifeline, as well as ridding residents of an eyesore site.
Her plea comes as the latest national job figures show that unemployment fell by 50,000 – but with more people in part-time work than ever – and just days after Norwich glazing firm Uniglaze axed more than 200 jobs.
The Hall Road superstore plans, rejected in September but since resubmitted by Asda, boast of creating up to 400 new jobs in the area, though opponents of the plans have questioned how many will be lost elsewhere as a result.
To focus what she calls the local “uproar” at the plans being rejected first time around, Mrs Lewis, 55, and her daughter Vicky have distributed a petition which has already gathered more than 100 signatures.
“We’ve not been asked what we would like,” said Mrs Lewis, who worked at the Bally Shoe factory for two years in the 1970s. “It’s taken the Evening News to get a poll up to ask what people would like.”
She said the development was crucial in providing jobs and affordable food and clothing for residents.
“We’ve got a young estate now. We have schools around here, and young people are having to struggle to find jobs.
“My own children are looking for jobs – I’ve got one who is looking desperately every day for a job, while my daughter wants part-time work to support her family,” she said.
“Given the recession we’re in people are watching the pennies more than ever.”
The transformation of the former factory would breathe new life into the site as well as creating jobs, added Mrs Lewis, of Maid Marian Road.
“The site is just an eyesore. It’s overrun with rats, and there are foxes running about. It’s a huge place, and it seems like it’s been like that forever.”
Opponents of the Asda development, including the Green party leader Claire Stephenson, have consistently claimed that the figure of 400 jobs would not be the net gain for the city, with jobs lost elsewhere and the majority of the positions being part-time.
Following the resubmission of the plans, she accused Asda of behaving “disgracefully” and said the plans were “a wasted opportunity”.
Asda’s supermarket rivals Morrisons will hold a public exhibition on Thursday showcasing their plans for a food store off Aylsham Road, which the chain claims could deliver 250 new jobs.