Home furnishings firm The Range will bring up to 1,000 jobs to Chippenham when it opens its southern distribution centre in the town.

The multi-million pound 750,000 sq ft centre, planned for near junction 17 of the M4 north of West Cepen Way, will serve the south of the country and is due to be open by 2016.

It will also include a retail unit selling home, leisure and garden products.

The firm expects to submit a planning application this autumn and is holding a public exhibition on the draft plans next Friday, July 18, at Chippenham Golf Club in Malmesbury Road, from 3pm to 8pm.

Members of the development team responsible for planning the centre will be available to answer questions.

The Range was founded by Chris Dawson in 1980. It now has 88 stores across the country and plans to double in size over the next few years.

Mr Dawson said: “Our business is thriving.

“As we grow we need a new state-of-the-art distribution facility to supply our existing and new stores.

"After a long search we have identified Chippenham as the best location for this new distribution centre, creating up to 1,000 new jobs and delivering long-term investment in Chippenham’s economy.”

Melody Thompson, director of 24-7 Staffing recruitment agency and Chippenham town councillor, said: “It’s exciting.

“It’s absolutely fabulous for the town, because the houses are coming so we need to deliver jobs and we can begin to reverse the trend of out-commuting.

“We need one or two success stories like this and it will start to turn the town.

“I think it’s in the right place; you don’t want distribution trucks going through the centre of town.”

Chris Bonsor, president of Chippenham Chamber of Commerce, said: “I think it is awesome and the chamber generally thinks it’s fantastic.

“Whether it keeps people working locally or attracts people to the town, it can only be a good thing.”