Stoke-on-Trent planning committee have voted 9 to 0 to give the Norcross/Morrisions development on the former Johnsons Tile factory their approval.
During the meeting voices of local residents, local business and local councillors giving their arguments for and against.
Objections were raised from Drainsfield, who are currently seeking planning permission for their phase third and final phase of the development of Alexardera Park with their concerns that the units being built alongside Morrisons could pull footfall to the other side of town or even retailers , Burslem were represented because they still don't have a in town Super Market, and also Lee Wanger representing Tunstall Traders and the Dransfield development speaking of their fears about the effect Morrisons will have on their trade.
Norcross and Morrisons were also positive about the meeting afterwards saying that the plans will now be sent to the Secretary of State, and the final decision coming within the 21 days. If approval is given they would like to have the supermarket open by 2014 . The deal will also include improvements to the walk ways into the town, and signage highlighting the key commercial areas such as Tunstall Market.
Following today's decision Mark Thompson, Development Executive from Morrisons said:
"We are delighted with the committees decision today, it is the culmination of a lot of hard work from all parties.
We now hope that the Secretary of State will confirm the decision so we can deliver the much needed regeneration and jobs as soon as possible."
Tim Rix, of Norcros said:
"We are really pleased with the decision, not just for ourselves but for the hundreds of local residents who have supported us for the last 18 months.
We would to thank those who have expressed their support, particularly those who came to the committee today. We now look forward to the SoS's decision and bringing this major investment opportunity to Tunstall."
John from Spectrum Services, was pleased with the result, saying "you can't turn it down". John believes that rather than decrease footfall into town, you'll see a rise in footfall because of the free parking, and attraction of the supermarket and other units to shoppers.
Mark McNulty, owner of the White Horse Pub, would be, you'd think the first person to object to a family pub being built behind his back yard. But is quite the opposite is the fact. Mark said "I welcome the competition, but also welcome the passing trade this will bring."
"The Tunstall High Street only gets busy 3 days a week when the market is open, where this development will be open every day. How can't that help surrounding shops."
"Morrisons will be putting new signage directing people into town and improving parts of the lower end of Tunstall paths"
Tunstall's High Street, like so many of the UK's High Streets, has been in decline for a number of years, with shops being boarded up ( over 18 shops empty on the high street on the last count). Asda, Matalan, Argos and Next have helped to bring improvements to Tunstall, and with the addition of Alexadrea Park have helped to shift the focal point of the town center. The lack of free, parking has also become a bane of any shopper wanting to pop into a shop quickly.
The only people who can say if they will carry on using the Market and shops on the high street, is you the shopper. Will your shopping habits change? Will you stop venturing into the town center? Will you venture in more?