TWO supermarket giants have re-affirmed their commitment to occupying stores at a proposed business and retail development in Furness.

The developer behind the Beehive Business Park in Ulverston, Rawdon Property Group, has published new letters from both M&S Food and Aldi which make the pledge.

Plans for the Ulverston park, which Rawdon believes will bring almost 300 jobs to the town, have received a mixed reaction.

Ulverston Town Council recommended that South Lakeland District Council reject the plan, with concerns expressed that there was no guarantee that either Aldi or Marks and Spencer would take up residency.

However, Rawdon director Brian Scott says there has been huge public support for the development and letters from the two supermarkets confirm their 'commitment' to the site.

“In our original consultations on the plans there was massive positive feedback from people who want M&S and Aldi to come to Ulverston, and that support has continued on social media," said Mr Scott.

Last weekend, the developers delivered more than 10,000 leaflets across the town explaining what was happening at the Beehive and Mr Scott said it was 'engaging with local community groups who desperately want another supermarket in Ulverston'.

The letters from Aldi and M&S Food state their intention to locate stores at the Beehive and explain why they will not accept other sites proposed by the town council at the former Robinsons Brewery and at Canal Head.

Aldi states: “Neither of these sites is suitable for our needs or offers the realistic option of a deliverable scheme, and there are inherent difficulties in developing either location.”

The M&S letter described the Brewery site as subject to a number of significant constraints including its shape and size, the customer vehicular access/egress, inadequate and inconvenient parking, difficult servicing arrangements and limited visual prominence.

Mr Scott said: “Ulverston Town Council oppose the plan because the site is not allocated for retail – but it is allocated for job creation. We are planning to secure almost 300 jobs at the Beehive.

"Retail takes up a quarter of the site, and the rest will be occupied by the new Blue Light Hub and a number of other companies such as Furness Engineering and Technology Ltd, which want to expand into purpose-built offices, Lake District Farmers, which wants to move to Ulverston from Tebay and several other businesses with whom were are negotiating

“Without a retail element there is a multi-million pound hole in the viability of the site. If there is no retail allowed at the Beehive, the whole of the site may be left vacant and those valuable jobs may go elsewhere."