A STORE could be left without premises and 100 jobs put at risk if a Stanway retail park does not go ahead, it has been warned.

B&Q signed a legal agreement with Sainsbury’s to move from its Lightship Way store, in the Hythe, in 2016.

The plans were ratified by Colchester Council, with the DIY giant looking for smaller Colchester premises.

Last year it was revealed it would be moving to the proposed Stane Retail Park, in Stanway.

But the plans have become mired in planning issues and a decision has still not been made seven months after they were submitted.

In a letter to Colchester Council, bosses at B&Q said: “Due to planning permission being granted at Lightship Way, contractual conditions have been met which mean B&Q’s lease will end in May 2019 and the premises handed over to Sainsbury’s for their use.

“In order to maintain our representation in Colchester, the B&Q board approved the most appropriate location for a replacement store to be at Stane Park.

“As such we have exchanged legally binding agreements with Churchmanor Estates Company to develop our new store.

“Representation by our competitors is reducing and when we have to vacate our current store, if a replacement isn’t available that choice will reduce further, inevitably resulting in trade leakage outside of the town.”

Churchmanor Estates revealed the plans for retail at Stane Park in November, with the proposals due to be decided on by February.

Aldi and an M&S food hall are also set to join B&Q if the plans go ahead.

In the face of the delays, Aldi has said it would not be able to relocate its Lexden store and take on new staff and M&S would look for opportunities elsewhere in the country.


Other outlets are close to opening 

The letter from Aldi said: “All of our colleagues working in Lexden will be transferred to the new store.

“The larger premises will allow us to create additional jobs, increasing our staff numbers to approximately 50 colleagues , virtually all of whom will live locally.”

The first phase of Stane Park was given approval by the Secretary of State last year after Colchester Council originally turned it down as it was on designated employment land.

The project, which features chain restaurants Nando’s, KFC and Bella Italia, is well underway and expected to be finished in the coming weeks.

A spokesman for Colchester Council said: “The council has been working proactively with the applicants, Church Manor Estates, to resolve the outstanding planning matters and allow an informed decision to be reached on the merits and associated impacts of the development as soon as possible.

“However, there remain a number of outstanding matters that the council must resolve in order to allow a robust decision to be reached in this case.

“The developer’s agents have been working closely with us to provide essential additional information concerning the Governments retail tests and highway matters – to ensure that this development is satisfactory both in terms of its impact on the immediate and wider area and compliance with planning policy.

“Highway-related matters, in particular, have taken a number of months to resolve.

“Local residents will be aware of the sensitivity of the local highway network to additional capacity arising from new development, so it is important that further congestion is avoided.

“The council places significant weight on the creation of new jobs as a public benefit and this will form part of the planning balance as part of the future decision-making process.

“As soon as the developer provides the missing pieces of the ‘planning jigsaw’, the scheme will then be submitted for determination by the planning committee at the earliest opportunity.”