A DISCOUNT food store could be setting up shop in Bury St Edmunds, with the possibility of creating 20 new jobs.
Aldi is proposing to build a store next to Glasswells, in the former Lookers garage, in Newmarket Road, which has been empty for three years.
The proposed design would include a new car park layout to serve the store and would create between 15 and 20 full and part-time jobs.
The store would have a sales floor space of 990sqm, with 80 per cent dedicated to convenience foods and the remaining 20 per cent to the sale of non-food products.
Andrew Denny, chairman of Bury Chamber of Commerce, said he believed the proposal was a good indication of the ‘buoyancy’ of the local economy and that, despite reservations about the effect it could have on trade in the town centre, he was confident that Bury’s independent stores, which serve a niche market, would continue to do well.
He said: “It’s a good sign for the local economy, it shows it’s still buoyant and it’s not all bad news. Our concerns in the chamber of commerce would be whether there’s enough customers for yet another food store out of the town centre. But I think Aldi have done their homework and must be satisfied that there’s the demand.”
Aldi, which sells predominantly own-labelled brands, does not believe it will compete directly with existing businesses.
A spokesman said: “Aldi has had an ongoing requirement to be represented in Bury St Edmunds for the last 10 years.”
Last week letters were sent to 1,000 residents living near the site to help planners gauge public opinion about the store proposal.
Yesterday, a public exhibition was due to be held at King Edward VI School, in Grove Road, to allow residents to find out more about the plans and, where possible, incorporate their ideas into the scheme.
Aldi is currently preparing a planning application which is due to be submitted in the next few months.
Planners say that, where possible, the views of the local community will be taken into account.
If you were not informed about the public exhibition by letter, it is not too late to have your say – email firstname.lastname@example.org