CHESTER is set to get a large 24-hour supermarket on the Greyhound Retail park – but it will mean the loss of Chester’s only cinema and the ten pin bowling alley.
Land Securities has secured permission for the new store, rumoured to be an Asda, which is expected to create 173 new jobs.
The scheme will involve the demolition of Cineworld and the adjacent bowling alley unit will be extended to create the new supermarket a home shopping unit and café.
Agent Mathew Sobic told Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning committee: “I would like to stress the scheme will have significant local benefits for Blacon and the wider area in terms of retail provision and job creation.”
Blacon Labour councillor Reg Jones, who addressed the meeting, believes a major supermarket such as Asda will bring benefits to the area and supported the principle of development but raised some concerns.
He said: “We are changing the character and nature of the Greyhound Park – the loss of the cinema and the bowling alley. While I accept we can’t force commercial ventures to stay there, we have made no provision for leisure facilities. We have a growing reputation as a cultural desert as we flip flop from one cultural aspiration to another.
“There are unintended consequences to this and that will be increases in anti-social behaviour. Our young people need facilities and they are being denied them.”
Cllr Jones added: “The bus route that is being proposed is quite frankly the wrong approach and it’s the wrong solution and probably benefits the city centre more than Blacon residents who are a large community with the least amount cars probably in the whole of the council area.”
He argued Avenue Services, the community company which provides public services on the estate, could be used to ensure new jobs go to local people.