More than 100 jobs could be created when Tesco opens a new store in Swaffham, it was announced yesterday.

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The supermarket giant is to set up shop on the EcoTech Business Park, in Castle Acre Road, after Millngate bought the three acre site from Breckland Council.

Contracts were exchanged at the end of July, but the developer has been looking to invest in the town for about four years, a spokesman said.

“At present, we can’t confirm the number of jobs. However, it’s looking to be more than 100. There are no plans for a petrol garage at this stage, but we want to get comments from the local community,” the Millngate spokesman added.

Swaffham currently has an Asda store in Lynn Street, just off the Market Place, and a Waitrose also in Castle Acre Road, a few hundred yards from the new Tesco site.

A recent retail study commissioned by the district council revealed that 49pc of those questioned in the area chose to travel to other towns to do their weekly shop.

The results from a further survey commissioned by Millngate show that 34pc of people surveyed said they would support proposals for a new food supermarket in Swaffham, 50pc were neutral and 16pc said they would oppose such a proposal

Swaffham Town Council is due to meet with representatives from both companies on November 22 and will be bringing the town’s Iceni Partnership and Business Forum into the discussions.

Millngate’s managing director, Tony Sweeney, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to regenerate a derelict site which has been empty for some time through an attractive, environmentally friendly, sustainable building on the main approach into the town.

“It has taken us many years to persuade an operator to come to the town and we are particularly fortunate that Tesco has made this commitment.”

Louise Gosling, regional corporate affairs manager at Tesco, added: “Tesco’s policy is to employ locally and there will be a wide range of full and part time jobs for local people. We also put much emphasis on regional produce and local suppliers.

“We are keen to continue this practice in Swaffham and would look to stock as much local produce as possible. We are confident that a Tesco supermarket in Swaffham will help encourage existing residents to shop more regularly in Swaffham and will attract additional shoppers into Swaffham.”

A public exhibition on the plans is due to be held early in year.

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