Upgraded Chippenham eyesore 'will bring 300 jobs'
Developers for the derelict Langley Park site in Chippenham have been underlining their vision for the area after they won their eight year fight to revamp the industrial eyesore.
They believe their plans will create more than 300 jobs and hope a cinema could be the likely operator of the leisure facility that forms part of the approved plans.
Mark Ovens, director of Ashtenne, bought the site ten years ago and in that time has seen two previous applications refused and two failed appeals.
But now he is celebrating after all but one member of the planning committee voted in favour of the plans, which will also see Hathaway Retail Park refurbished.
It will mean the dream of a modern cinema for Chippenham becoming a real possibility.
Mr Ovens could not reveal at what stage in the construction a cinema would come, but he said he recognised it would be popular in the community and he would be making this a priority when looking for operators.
After the meeting, which took place on Wednesday last week, he said: “I am very pleased with everyone’s support. There is an awful lot of work to do and I look forward with everyone here to redeveloping the site. It will bring 300 jobs for the food store alone.”
Asked if Asda was the retailer, he said: “Asda are still very keen to come to Chippenham.”
He estimated it would be another 12 to 18 months before the details were decided and a full planning application submitted.
Granting of outline permission comes after a long consultation and several amendments.
These include reducing the size of the supermarket from 52,000 sq ft to 38,000 sq ft and adding a hotel and leisure facility and highway alterations.
Also new is a £100,000 contribution to deliver a lift on the northern side of the footbridge across the railway, with Network Rail planning to provide one on the southern side.
Jo Davis, senior director at GVA, who led the planning process, said: “We have been working with officers, the community and local members to get to this point for a number of years. We are confident the proposed development will rejuvenate Chippenham, acting as a magnet for inward investment in the existing industrial estate, creating new and retaining existing jobs.
“This is a giant step forward for this project and for Chippenham as a whole.”
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