A MULTI-MILLION pound Tesco superstore could open in Padiham as early as next autumn after bulldozers began clearing the site.
The retail behemoth was given the green light for the £11m. “eco store” in the town centre after a costly public inquiry despite fierce opposition from Padiham business owners and councillors.
Demolition men have now moved in to clear mill buildings from the site between Wyre Street and Lune Street to make way for the 30,000 sq ft. store.
Question marks about the future of small businesses in Padiham still hang over the development, but some are hoping the new supermarket will boost the vibrancy of the town centre.
Worries that the current Tesco Express could also be left vacant have been allayed with several businesses believed to be interested in moving into the unit.
Town councillor Mark Jinkinson, who is part of Padiham Town Centre Partnership, said: “There is still a degree of uncertainty about it all. We have never had anything like this in the town before. It is a new experience. I’m sure a number of local businesses must be concerned it will impact on their own business. But experts believe it will be good for the local area.
“We hope it will make the town centre more vibrant and hope small traders won’t lose out to the bigger organisations. But only time will tell. We will have to wait and see what happens.”
Coun. Jinkinson, who runs an optometrists in Padiham, believed Burnley Council was in the process of recruiting a town centre manager – one of the stipulations of the planning permission.
He added: “It was part of the agreement to employ a manager to give support and guidance for local traders in the transition period.”
The timber frame eco store, which will have rooflights, natural ventilation systems and rainwater harvesting to reduce emissions, is expected to be open by Christmas next year.
Matthew Magee, Tesco corporate affairs manager, said: “We’re delighted work will begin on site this year, and looking forward to bringing hundreds of jobs and a great new store to the area in time for next Christmas.”