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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Deal for major supermarket in Carlisle close to being secured

A deal is close to being signed for a major retailer to build a new supermarket that could create hundreds of jobs.

The Cumberland News understands that talks over a store site at Morton, Carlisle, are at an advanced stage – with fine details now being negotiated.

Carlisle City Council, which owns the land, is negotiating with one of the country’s biggest store chains to bring a fifth major supermarket to the city.

Those talks are expected to be completed soon. Outline planning permission is already in place to build an 88,000sq ft supermarket with cafe, filling station, creche and hot-food takeaway that could create 442 jobs. A developer would have to apply for full planning permission.

City council officials have been marketing the site, between Wigton Road and Ellesmere Way, since planning permission for a development was granted two years ago. Details about the advanced nature of the Morton talks emerged as a report into retail in the city estimated that the turnover of money-spinning supermarkets in Carlisle is tens of millions of pounds higher than expected.New research has given a snapshot of the city’s stores scene and an insight into how much cash expert analysts estimate is involved. It reveals Morrisons on Kingstown Road is thought to have the highest turnover, followed by Tesco on Warwick Road and Asda at Kingstown.

Figures in the study also offer an idea of why store giants have been so keen to set up or expand in Carlisle. It has come as the city’s supermarket circuit is poised for further massive change. Already, a new Sainsbury’s store has opened. There is also the potential of up to three more large outlets – including Morton – being developed.

But the independent experts who conducted the research say that once they open the city will need no more large-scale supermarkets until about 2030.

Commercial analysts GVA came up with the findings after being commissioned by Carlisle City Council.

Their research will form part of the district’s next local plan – highlighting where new homes and businesses could be built.

Based on its survey, they estimated the major stores in Carlisle are exceeding their benchmark, a figure used to assess stores against other comparable ones or national figures. They report:

  • Morrisons, Kingstown Road, has a survey-based turnover of £67.2m – £28.5m above its benchmark of £38.7m.
  • Tesco, Warwick Road, has a survey-based turnover of £63.4m – £29.5m above its £33.8m benchmark.
  • Asda, Kingstown, has a survey-based turnover of £52.3m – £7.9m above its benchmark of £44.4m.

On top of the £40m Sainsbury’s which opened last month in Caldewgate and Morton, the other sites poised for supermarket developments are at Viaduct Estate and St Nicholas Gate.

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