Empty nursery building may be home to new Morrison’s
The former Abbey Meads Nursery nursery is set to be given a new lease of life after an application has been put forward to convert the abandoned building into shops.
If successful it will see the derelict property turned into a large grocery store and two other retail units. There will also be 17 extra car parking spaces if the application is approved.
The expected occupier of the larger grocery store is Morrison’s. The use of the other two buildings unknown.
If the company does fill up the space, it will be with a M-Local store, which focuses on sourcing local produce.
There is currently a Tesco Express in the Village Centre and it is hoped the new store will provide extra competition.
Karl Willcox, who manages the nearby Abbey Meads pub is pleased to hear the premises is set to be occupied once again. He said: “I’ll be happy to see it being used again. Any extra business has got to be good for the area.
“As long as it’s not a pub I’m not too upset what it is, but it needs to be used for something.”
Lisa Davies, 47, who lives next to the building in Thorley Court, said: “I think it’ll be very positive to have it full again.
“At the moment it’s just standing empty and just falling into disrepair so any change has got to be an improvement. It’s just a target for local vandals now.
“I think a supermarket is a good thing to have there and if it helps lower the prices then all the better.”
However, while people will be pleased to see the property back in use some don’t believe another food store is putting it to its best use.
Karen Nixon, who works in the surgery at Abbey Meads said: “I’m not sure we need another supermarket. “There is already the Tesco which is adequate enough and there is the ASDA in the Orbital.
“It’s good that it won’t be empty anymore but they could do something better with it, even if it can’t be kept as a nursery.”
The building has had an unhappy history with residents complaining about vandalism, security and the visual impact on the surrounding area.
In 2011 fire crews were called after the building was set on fire.
The building was formerly operated by Leapfrog Nursery and then Busy Bees, but has been empty since 2006.
There have been queries from other nurseries about the possibility of taking it over but the rents were felt to be too high.
The council and developers are inviting comments from the public.