SUPERMARKET giant Morrisons has announced its agreement to deliver the much-anticipated multi-million pound regeneration of Oswestry’s Smithfield Cattle Market as part of a development creating hundreds of new jobs.
Developers Liberty Mercian confirmed that Morrisons had won the bid to develop a new supermarket next to the site as part of a development which will also see a nine-screen cinema, office space and food retail outlets constructed, as well as the cattle market’s regeneration.
With planning consent originally granted for the scheme in 2010, Liberty Mercian have said the scheme will now progress to the next stage, with cinema operators, Cineworld, and restaurant chains McDonald’s and Frankie and Benny’s already on board.
Speaking on behalf of Morrisons, development executive Mark Thompson said: “Smithfield Park will be a bespoke design for Oswestry and a real boost for the area not least in terms of the several hundred jobs created.
“With the cattle market moving to a brand new purpose-built site adjacent to the park, this is a real win-win for Oswestry with the long term future of the cattle market now secured,” he added.
The chairman of Oswestry Livestock Auctions, Roy Jones, expressed his delight at the news the scheme was moving forward, saying it would enable the group to progress immediately to a detailed planning proposal.
“The regeneration will allow us to compete on a more level playing field with other local livestock markets and give our customers the certainty and confidence that Oswestry Livestock Auctions will continue to be recognised as one of the premier markets in the country and a major firm in Oswestry."
Meanwhile, Mayor of Oswestry, Councillor Martin Bennett, welcomed the boost to the town’s economy saying: “As a council we are particularly delighted that the future of our livestock market, so vital to local employment and our local economy has been safeguarded.
“We now look forward to rapid progress on the remaining planning issues and a start on construction,” he added.
He also hoped the build would provide employment for local people and business for local construction firms while Liberty Mercian managing director, Chris Towers added that both Morrisons, the UK’s fourth largest food retailer, and Liberty Mercian, are committed to making a significant financial investment in Oswestry.
Meanwhile, Oswestry will finally get its new supermarket petrol station on Monday January 22, officials have revealed.
Morrisons began converting the former BP garage on Beatrice Street at the end of last year following several delays.
The former BP petrol station closed 12 months ago, leaving the site derelict until recently.