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Londis supermarket to open in former NHS building in St Botolph's Street, Colchester
A NEW supermarket is due to open in Colchester’s town centre this weekend.
The arrival of the Londis mini-supermarket in St Botolph’s Street means taxpayers will no longer be footing the bill for the derelict NHS building it is moving into.
The three-storey building has been empty for five years and the NHS had spent more than £100,000 renting it.
It is not known how many jobs will be created but the store is currently recruiting and is due to open on Saturday or Sunday.
Steve Miller, of Miller Stationary in St Botolph’s Street, said the supermarket’s arrival marked a fresh start for the neglected area of town.
He said: “Anything is better than an empty shop.
“It was disgusting before and the fact it was our money - At least now the NHS are off the hook.
Mr Miller said a new hairdressers’ was also going into the former Inflower shop in the street.
He added: “People are starting to realise we are going to be a major street in the town. It is brilliant for us all I think.”
The building has been rented by the NHS since 1995.
It was used as an advice centre until it closed in 2003 and was sub-let for a short time and run as a shop.
The shop closed five years ago and the 5,000 sq ft premises has been empty since.
However, the Department of Health has continued to pay the rent until recently.
Campaigners, including Mr Miller, had previously wanted to buy the freeholds to the building and knock it down, to reveal the entrance to the historic St Botolph’s Priory.
But those plans were scuppered when the Department for Health said in May it was in negotiations with an interested party on the lease of the property.
Workers at the site said yesterday the shop was due to open either on Saturday or Sunday.
Londis was unavailable to comment.