A new Co-Op store is planned for a multi-million pound Weymouth business park.

If permission is granted, the 4,000 sq ft Co-operative store at Link Park would create around 20 new jobs and is expected to open by the end of the year.

The proposed store, though smaller than a supermarket, would be one of the largest Co-operative convenience stores in the country and would link with a bus and cycle route.

It would feature a small cafe, bakery, fresh produce, a cashpoint, 24 parking spaces, bicycle parking and upstairs office space that could accommodate around 40 workers.

Mickey Jones, chief executive of Link Park developer DJ Property, says the shop would serve Chickerell residents, workers on the nearby Granby Industrial Estate and holidaymakers from camping and caravan sites along the coast road.

He said: “This new Co-operative store represents a significant investment for the western area of Weymouth and Chickerell.

“At the moment households have to travel across to the eastern side of Weymouth to visit two large supermarkets or into the centre of Weymouth to access others.

“Many new homes, schools and businesses are proposed for Chickerell and the surrounding industrial area in the future and therefore it is very important that we can offer a sustainable retail solution on this side of town.”

Mr Jones said there is room for another large food store in Weymouth.

“If one or several of the supermarkets are quiet at the moment it’s because they have misunderstood the market.

“People have been telling me that they want a shop there.

“The fact that something elsewhere may be wrong doesn’t mean that something here isn’t right.

“This doesn’t compete with the post office and what’s already on offer in this area.”

Gareth Dexter, retail acquisitions manager for the Co-operative Food in the South West, said: “The new Link Park site in Chickerell will be important to us. The community has indicated that they would like a store closer to where they live and work.”

The plans have been put before Chickerell Town Council and will be looked at by planning officers before going to the planning committee of West Dorset District Council.

Second phase go-ahead

THE second phase of £14million Link Park has been approved by planners.

It will attract small to medium-sized businesses that may be looking to relocate or expand from other locations in Weymouth or from other parts of Dorset or the UK.

These units will be ready for occupation by the summer.

The first phase of the business park, an extension to South Dorset’s largest employment site the Granby Industrial Estate, has seen national firms Screwfix, Toolstation, Topps Tiles, Euro Car Parts and Halfords opening their doors on the site.