FURNITURE giants Leekes have been given the final go-ahead for a multi-million store on the outskirts of Bedworth that will create 200 new jobs.
They will redevelop the former Makro cash and carry warehouse site on the Gallagher Business Park at Rowleys Green into a flagship store with a cafe and outdoor garden centre.
The project was referred to the Secretary of State for approval because of its size and that it is contrary to the Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council’s Local Plan.
Coventry City Council also objected on the grounds that it `could undermine established city and district centres’ and did not comply with government policy.
But the minister decided not to intervene and approval will be left to the borough council, whose planning applications committee has already unanimously approved the project.
Emma Leekes, managing director of the furniture and household goods chains, spoke to the planning committee earlier this year.
She said that the massive new store will cost at least £6 million and employ 150 staff and 50 highly skilled subcontractors and become the company’s Midlands logistical hub.
Leekes’ Bedworth store in Leicester Street, will close and all six employees will be given the opportunity to move to the new site.
The Leekes Group, parent company for the three Home Department Stores in the West Midlands, has already agreed a £25 million refinancing deal with Lloyds Bank and Barclays.
That will provide a `war chest’ to keep growing the retail, leisure and property arms of the business which includes the new Home Department Store on the former Makro site.
Emma Leekes said: “This new store will signal a new chapter in our long history.
“It will be the largest department store in a 50-mile radius and, as a result, we have exciting plans for it in terms of appearance, layout and product offering.” The store is expected to open this summer.