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Leominster business asks residents to "let us grow"
9:01am Saturday 21st December 2013 in News
A COUNTY business which is "bursting at the seams" is asking Leominster residents to let it grow.
Thomas Panels and Profiles – a third generation family business based on Leominster's Southern Avenue – is on the site Morbaine Ltd would like to turn into a superstore.
Morbaine will hear whether their application is successful in the new year but Tricia Thomas, director of Thomas Panels and Profiles, says the move would allow her business to grow.
"We came to the town in 2004 with seven employees but that has since increased to 70," she said.
"We are working within the very tight constraints of this building in an old feed mill and we are bursting at the seams.”
Morbaine would be funding the relocation of Thomas Panels and Profiles to new purpose-built premises in Leominster – a "hub" for the steel frame building industry according to Tricia.
"Our message would be to 'let us grow'," she added. "It’s the most amazing opportunity for us."
The developers believe the store would deliver substantial benefits for Leominster including improving customer choice for food and grocery shopping as well as drawing in shoppers from outside town.
It would also employ 200 permanent staff as well as enabling Thomas Panels and Profiles to stay in Leominster and hire extra staff.
The Cheshire-based developer says it would provide £1m for town centre improvements and enhanced foot, cycle and bus links.
Alex Brodie, of Morbaine, said: “We are asking residents to support our plans for a new food store on Southern Avenue which will improve their choice for grocery shopping in Leominster without damaging town centre traders.
“The impact of a Southern Avenue store on Leominster would be overwhelmingly positive – it will guarantee local jobs, create new ones, provide substantial funds for investment in the town centre and bring new shoppers into the town.”
But the Friends of Leominster – a group opposing two applications for superstores in Leominster – has maintained that a new superstore would be a bad thing for the town.
Joan Thwaites, a spokesperson for the group, recently said: “Leominster already has three supermarkets. Retail impact studies show a diversionary new out-of-town shopping complex would have a terrible effect on town centre stores and shops.
“Reduced footfall in Leominster town centre would be bad news for businesses of all kinds.”
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