THE JOBS of hundreds of Bulwell workers are set to be safeguarded after work started on a massive £22 million Co-op distribution centre this week.
The firm plans to transfer 280 staff from its Bulwell site on Freeston Drive, Blenheim Industrial Estate, and 460 from a centre in Alfreton, Derbyshire.
But the scheme will also create a further 340 jobs that will give a timely boost the employment market in the East Midlands.
The new depot will eventually sit at the Castlewood business park, next to the East Midlands Designer Outlet.
The site off the A38 will be the supermarket’s main supply hub when complete next year.
Mark Leonard, Co-op Food’s head of logistics, said: “The new distribution depot will provide a major boost to the local economy and employment.
“It will not only create a significant number of new jobs locally, but its proximity to our existing depots in the area will allow many staff to transfer to the new site, safeguarding around 740 jobs in the region.”
The mammoth centre will service 529 Co-op stores throughout the region, covering Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.
It will be one of the biggest sites of its kind in the country and have the capacity to deliver around 68 million cases of groceries a year. Work will be completed next year.
The site falls within the South Normanton East ward of Bolsover district councillor Joe Phelan (Lab), who said: “It’s excellent news for the entire area, particularly when you think about the current economic situation.
“Firstly the Co-op are securing jobs by proposing the transfer of current staff and they are creating positions as well.”
He added that completion of the scheme could encourage more firms to create more jobs by taking up residence on the site, which is owned by Brailsford-based property firm CWC Group.
“It’s definitely the biggest project in the area at the moment when it comes to creating jobs,” he added.
The Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce has previously given the scheme a thumbs-up.
Added the Co-operative Group in a statement: “It is anticipated that the majority of the positions at the new site will be filled by existing Co-operative staff transferring, but the new depot is expected to create at least 340 new jobs locally.”
The group added that the current clearing work would be followed by foundations being laid to the huge facility.
The project is being managed by the Warwick-based specialist industrial development company, First Industrial.
The ‘state-of-the-art’ centre will also include several energy-saving and recycling initiatives, including harvesting rainwater to cut water demand and waste oil burning systems for heat production.
Said Fergie Taylor, head of project delivery at First Industrial: “We are delighted to be working with The Co-operative on this high profile project.
“The building is being delivered to best-in-class standards and when complete will offer major efficiencies.”
OUR PHOTO shows an artist’s impression of the new depot