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Business park idea to stop new Lidl plan
11:00am Monday 2nd September 2013 in Echo News
A CONSORTIUM hopes plans for a mini business park for start-up firms in Eastwood, will trump a rival bid by Lidl for a new supermarket.
The proposal includes 15 small industrial and commercial units on the site of the former Safestore in Progress Road, off the the A127.
Units, ranging in size from 30sq metres to 185sq metres, could be used for manufacturing, offices, small warehouses or trade counters.
The plan – put together by a mystery consortium of Southend businessmen – will now get weighed up against the bid from Lidl to open a new discount supermarket on the site and part of Essex Timber, next door.
Clive Lucas, who is representing the business park backers, said their plan would be suitable for double glazing manufacturers, plumbing or electrical suppliers, printers and repair shops.
Mr Lucas, of Rochford-based estate agent Nevbright 8, said: “The benefit of having a cluster of small businesses, such as this, is that they support each other and rely on dozens of other businesses.
“They are likely to have customers and suppliers within the industrial estate. It will encourage economic growth generally in Southend.”
Neighbouring businesses fear a new supermarket could cause gridlock and parking problems in the area.
The business park plans include 30 parking spaces – treble that at the Safestore site.
On the other hand, Lidl would create about 40 jobs – but other businesses estimate the business park would boost employment further.
Robert Byford, who has run Byfords Food Hall, in nearby Eastwood Old Road, Leigh, said: “The plans are excellent.
“It won’t cause a problem with the parking.
“It will provide more industrial units for the area, which we urgently need and it will employ more people than the Lidl plan.
“It’sawinner all the way. I’d be surprised if the council turns it down. It’s good news for the area.”
Andrew Moring, Conservative councillor for Eastwood Park and councillor for corporate services, said the business park meets the authorities plan for how the land should be used.
He said: “In terms of usage of the land it would be more appropriate and because of the light industrial type units there would be less traffic, which allays that concern, as the access would be off Progress Road.
“Lots of residents would love a Lidl store, but we have got this borough plan. Out of the two, I would support the new business park scheme.”
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