Supermarket jobs hope

Westgate House could be converted into a supermarket. The site is pictured here during demolition.
Westgate House could be converted into a supermarket. The site is pictured here during demolition.
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The site of a former council office could be converted into a 2,000sq ft supermarket bringing with it 100 jobs, it was revealed today.

Plans lodged with Fylde Council show the land off Squires Gate Lane, formerly known as Blackpool Council’s Westgate House, could be transformed, bringing with it up to 25 full-time and 75 part-time positions.

David Walker, part of Landmark Property Services, a representative of applicants Baxter Ltd, said a deal had been agreed with Blackpool Council to buy the land, which has been empty since March 2011.

Mr Walker said: “We are contracted to buy it – if we get consent.

“We are discussing the development of the site with a number of national retailers.

“We have yet to finalise discussions. We have been looking at developing the site for around eight months, but as part of the application we have had to do a retail impact assessment to satisfy Fylde Council.

“It (the application) has been recommended for approval and we are hopeful that will be the case.”

The application includes plans for an 85-space car park, with pedestrian access from Westgate Road and Squires Gate Lane.

Mr Walker declined to reveal how much the deal could be worth, but in March 2012 an offer of £850,000 was received for the land with a six-month option on whether to proceed with the sale.

At one time close to 250 staff worked in Westgate House, but since March 2011 they have been relocated to other sites, mainly Progress House in Marton.

The latest application follows plans for an Aldi store at Blackpool Retail Park. If both schemes receive building permission, the two supermarkets could be built within half a mile of Morrisons off Squires Gate Lane. A Blackpool Council spokeswoman said: “We have an agreement in place with Baxter Ltd in which the company could be able to buy the land at the former Westgate House site to develop it. “We will consider what further action to take on this proposal following any decision by Fylde Council’s planning committee next week .”

The application will be heard from 10am on Wednesday at Fylde Town Hall, St Annes.