Tesco’s plans to construct a new regional distribution centre (DC) in Reading have been backed by the local community and the retailer is confident that work will start on the project later this year, it was announced today.
A public exhibition of the grocer’s plans to redevelop the former Heineken brewery site just off the A33 in Reading received a favourable response, with 99.1 per cent of those who offered feedback indicating support for the scheme, but Tesco must now await council approval to go ahead with the project.
If backed by Reading Borough Council and Wokingham Borough Council the site could create up to 1,000 retail jobs, and Retail Gazette has learned that over 400 people have already expressed an interest in working at the DC.
Maxine Crawford, Tesco Regional Corporate Affairs Manager, said: “The massive benefit of this scheme is the number of jobs it will create.
“Various companies have exited Reading recently for one reason or another and lots of people have been made redundant as a result.”
The local councils received Tesco’s proposal earlier this month, but the supermarket will not know until September whether the project has been given the green light.
If allowed to progress with the site, the grocer expects to start construction on the DC in November or December this year.
“We have had a lot of dialogue with the council and they are aware that there will be no massive change to the use of the grounds, so we’re confident this will get the go-ahead,” Crawford added.
The Reading DC will hold ambient and chilled goods, and will predominately service Tesco’s stores in the south-west of England, but also some in the south-east.
Job roles available would include managerial staff, drivers, mechanics, warehouse operatives and maintenance staff, while the construction phase alone would also provide over 150 employment opportunities.
As well as a regional DC, the proposals include a vehicle maintenance unit and a number of enhancements to the landscape around the site.
Following this month’s public consultation, 97.4 per cent of the 465 people who responded said Tesco’s plans would improve the current landscape of the area.