Call for Asda plan approval
A petition has been launched backing Asda's plan to build a £35 million supermarket in a town centre.
Supporters of the company's proposal to build a 47,000 sq ft store, in Coalville, said it could kick-start regeneration and attract shoppers. A decision on the plan was deferred by North West Leicestershire District Council's planning committee, earlier this month.
Members said they wanted more time to look at rival schemes to redevelop Belvoir Shopping Centre and another to build a Tesco store.
Asda said its project would create up to 400 jobs and improve the road network. The petition, which is available online, has been set up by Greenhill councillor Michael Wyatt.
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He said: "This petition calls on North West Leicestershire District Council planning officers and elected members to back Asda's planning application for Coalville.
"I have spoken to many residents who have voiced their anger at the council for not allowing Asda to build its store.
"It's time the people were given the chance to send a clear message to the council that we support Asda coming to Coalville.
"We want them to stop delaying this planning application."
Piper Wilkins, 34, of Ibstock, is supporting the petition.
She said: "The Asda store is the one a majority of people want. Everyone was happy when they heard about the plans last year but it looks like its slipping away from us – I am angry at the council for messing around.
"They've had 20 years to do something about the Belvoir Centre, but nothing has happened. Why build a Tesco in Coalville when there's already one up the road in Ashby?"
The present administration at the district council pledged to regenerate Coalville when it took control in May 2007.
The Belvoir Centre scheme, put forward on behalf of its owners – the Zurich Insurance and Pearson (Media) Group pension funds – includes a town square, cinema, superstore and hotel.
It is the council's favoured option because of its central location, but a planning application has yet to be registered.
Meanwhile, the plan by Parkridge Developments – to build a Tesco store on the Ford Garage site, at the corner of Whitwick Road and Hotel Street, is only in outline form.
Tom McGarry, Asda's property communications spokesman, said: "An independent poll revealed a majority of shoppers wanted us to come to Coalville and we appreciate the support shown to us by ordinary people.
"We've bent over backwards to meet the council's aspirations for the town and already invested £1 million. It's about time a decision was made."
A council spokeswoman said a decision on all three schemes would be made at July's planning committee meeting.