Plans for a supermarket in Wotton back on track

Gazette Series: The plans for a supermarket in Wotton-under-Edge by Renishaw were last seen by the public in September 2011 who cited concerns with increased traffic. (5278775) The plans for a supermarket in Wotton-under-Edge by Renishaw were last seen by the public in September 2011 who cited concerns with increased traffic. (5278775)

PLANS for a new supermarket in the centre of Wotton-under-Edge are back on the table as Renishaw returns to the drawing board after a three-year-long hiatus.

The global engineering firm based in the town stalled its plans to sell its Old Town site with planning permission for a supermarket to concentrate on its development of a site just outside Cardiff.

Renishaw spokesman Chris Pockett assured members of Wotton-under-Edge Chamber of Trade at their latest meeting that the Cardiff development did not mean jobs would move their from Gloucestershire.

“We’re not upping sticks anytime soon, if ever,” he said.

“It has been a while since we gave an update. There’s been a lot of changes since.”

The global manufacturing company has seen exponential growth since it made redundancies in 2009.

Turnover for 2010 reached £182 million but by 2013 this had rocketed to £347m and the workforce has grown from 1,850 in 2009 to over 3,400 now, making it one of the largest employers in Gloucestershire.

The firm is currently building a large factory at New Mill, which will be carrying out a phased occupancy soon, with the 120 workers at the Old Town building moving to the New Mill site.

Renishaw is in the process of drawing up a planning application for the site and, if approved, will sell the land to a supermarket chain.

However Mr Pockett did not rule out the possibility that the company would retain the site if a situation arose where they could still make use of it.

“We will change a lot over the next three years. You won’t like this uncertainty but that is how business is,” he said.

“We have got lots of sites, lots of business and we have grown significantly so it is a very dynamic situation.”

He added the company expected to make a decision sometime this year and stressed it was not “in cahoots” with a particular supermarket company with a view to sell to them specifically.

At the meeting the chamber raised the issue of limited parking in the town which could potentially be mitigated by the building of a 140-space car park at the possible site.

Back in September 2011 a public consultation unveiled Renishaw’s plans to sell the land with a planning application for a supermarket on the Old Town site.

The vast majority of residents speaking to the Gazette at the time were concerned about major congestion and traffic problems.

However, most people had been open to the idea of a supermarket in principle, saying Wotton-under-Edge had to move with the times.

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