AN MP says work on a massive new Marks & Spencer store could start this year, boosted by the merging of councils.
PreviouslyChester City Council was among neighbouring councils which had objected to a plan approved by Ellesmere Port and Neston Council.
Andrew Miller, MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, said: “Now it’s a single authority and the A5117 doesn’t create a bar between one authority and the other.”
The application has been called in by communities secretary Hazel Blears because Liverpool and Chester’s councils objected.
Ms Blears will decide after a six- day public inquiry starting on June 16 but will be encouraged to accept the application by fellow Labour MPs Andrew Miller and Christine Russell.
Mr Miller added: “Seven million people went shopping there last year – it’s hard to see why it’s not suitable.
“Nobody on our side objected to Liverpool One being developed. The objections are not valid reasons but they shouldn’t hold us up.”
The store could create more than 400 jobs at Cheshire Oaks and part of the project would include improvements to access roads.
“They are quality jobs with commitments to recruit from the most disadvantaged parts of the community with a commitment to reach toward local subcontractors,” added Mr Miller.
He says fears of competition from local M&S stores are unfounded.
“Marks & Spencer has given an assurance none of the local M&S shops – Chester, Heswall, Birkenhead and Liverpool – will be affected by the development,” said Mr Miller.
“Hopefully we’ll have a design from the inspector by the end of the summer at the latest.
“I’d like to see construction starting this year. That may be optimistic but it is possible.”