SUPERMARKET giant Tesco has revealed plans to convert a prominent town centre building into its latest outlet.
The multi-national company this week revealed it has exchanged contracts with the owners of the empty 2,555sq ft Millets store on Highgate, Kendal.
The move, subject to planning permission being granted, is likely to create dozens of jobs.
Tesco had previously been heavily involved in talks to open a superstore on the Canal Head redevelopment.
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Brian Harrison, chairman of the South Lakes branch of the Federation of Small Businesses, hailed the move.
“This is absolutely brilliant news,” he said. “The high street is screaming for high calibre shops and this is exactly the sort of thing we want to see.”
Dismissing worries Tesco could spell the end for the town’s independent shops, Mr Harrison said: “It’s all healthy competition and of course it’s good for the consumer to have more options.
“Independents are strong and clever enough to not let it affect them.”
Tesco spokesperson Mark Thomas said: “A small Tesco store would serve the Kendal community well and create new jobs in the town. A store in this location will give a boost to the high street and bring back into use a prominent vacant building.
“We will be opening discussions with the local authority with a view to submitting a planning application.”
The building is marketed by specialist retail property consultants Brady’s and the brochure states: “The shop fronts the principal High Street and has an eye-catching historic frontage.”
An SLDC spokesperson said Tesco would need to apply for permission for a change of use if it were to sell hot food. It would also need a licence for selling alcohol.