Leekes, the family owned independent home department store, is close to receiving planning permission to redevelop the former Makro site on the Gallagher Business Park, adjacent to Coventry’s Ricoh Stadium, into a huge 178,000 square foot department store – the largest department store in a 50 mile radius.
The retailer, which has its head office in South Wales, agreed the terms of purchase for the freehold of the site from Makro in the summer of 2011. Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council resolved to grant planning permission at the meeting of the Planning Applications Committee last night (18th January). The application will now be referred to the Secretary of State as it represents a departure from the development plan and due to the size of the proposal. The Secretary of State will decide whether to determine the application himself or allow the Council to grant planning permission.
The current Leekes furniture store on Leicester Road, Bedworth will be relocated with all staff being offered the opportunity to transfer to the new store which is scheduled to open in the summer. The new site will substantially increase the retail space available allowing Leekes to offer the full range of products currently sold at its other four home department stores in Bilston near Wolverhampton, Melksham in Wiltshire and Llantrisant and Cross Hands in South Wales. The Company’s plans will see the regeneration of the derelict site through an investment by the business of over "6million and one which will ultimately result in over 200 new jobs being created in the local area.
Emma Leeke, Managing Director of Leekes who spoke at the Planning Committee Meeting to outline the background to the company and its future plans, said "We are absolutely delighted that we gained unanimous support from the Council Planning Committee who have resolved to grant us planning permission. We hope to gain a favourable response from the Secretary of State in the next few weeks to enable us to begin our work at the site. I would like to thank the Council and the Planning Committee for the support they have given us in indicating their approval of our application."
"This represents the start of an exciting next chapter for our business in the Midlands. The site will become the new Flagship Store for our business set in an extremely convenient location, opposite the Ricoh Arena and close to Junction 3 of the M6, and its size will enable us to offer the same range of products to current and new customers in this part of the Midlands that we do for the thousands of customers who visit our other home department stores each week"
"Our purchase of the freehold for this site means that we are making a long term commitment to this area. We have a multi million pound refurbishment budget for the old Makro store where we plan to install Kitchen, Bathroom and Conservatory Studios as well as increasing our ranges of sofas, dining and bedroom furniture which we have not able to include in our small store in Bedworth. We’ll also be adding a wide range of accessories, clothing, home textiles, decorating and DIY products as well as an Interior Design Studio which means that our customers really will be able to get everything they need for their home under one roof."
Leekes acquired the current Bedworth store in November 2009 as part of the purchase of the Cole’s Home Furnishers Group, which also included stores at Bilston, Wolverhampton and Fenton, near Stoke on Trent. Over "3 million was spent by Leekes redeveloping the Bilston store which was officially opened in November 2010.
The Company has recently announced strong trading figures both during the run up to Christmas and in the early weeks of its Winter Sale which is set in contrast to the dismal performance reported recently by many national multiple retailers.
For more information on Leekes, visit leekes.co.uk.
To enquire about job opportunities at the new store please email firstname.lastname@example.org