Morrisons move to bring 350 jobs to Hemel Hempstead

Artist's impression of new Morrisons store planned for Hemel Hempstead town centre April 2013
Artist's impression of new Morrisons store planned for Hemel Hempstead town centre April 2013

The new Morrisons superstore planned for Hemel Hempstead town centre will create 350 jobs, the grocery giant predicted this week.

And draft plans for the scheme, which will also see the West Herts College campus redeveloped, will be unveiled at a public exhibition later this month.

If planners give the green light to the detailed proposals, which were already approved in principle a year ago, the store could be open by the spring of 2015 with the new college opening its doors later in that year.

The project is part of the long-awaited Hemel Evolution regeneration scheme which will transform the area now occupied by the college’s Dacorum campus and Dacorum Borough Council’s landmark Civic Centre.

Separate plans for a new ‘civic quarter’ of council offices and other services are still on the drawing board.

The superstore will have a filling station and a 500-space car park, and will provide direct competition for the town’s biggest existing retailers, Tesco at Jarman Park and Sainsbury’s at Apsley Mills.

The combined supermarket and college blueprint has been dubbed ‘The Link’ and planners hope it will help to kickstart regeneration of the northern part of the town centre.

A spokesman for Morrisons said that The Link would create around 350 new, permanent jobs for local people. Training and apprenticeship opportunities will include the chance to become a fully trained butcher, baker or fishmonger.

The public exhibition to get feedback on the plans will be held on Friday, April 26 (2pm to 7pm) at the college’s library and on Saturday, April 27 (9am to 5.30pm) at the Marlowes Shopping Centre.

Members of the development team will be on hand to answer questions and feedback forms will be available.

Morrisons development executive Andrew Birtwistle said: “This town centre site provides an excellent opportunity to deliver significant regeneration and investment in Hemel Hempstead, bring better choice for shoppers and around 350 new, permanent jobs.

“Alongside West Herts College and its new, state-of-the-art educational facilities, we are investing in Hemel Hempstead for both its current and future generations.

“We look forward to discussing our plans with interested residents and hope to see as many people as possible at our public exhibition.”

The draft plans will also be available to view at www.thelinkhemel.com from Friday, April 26.