The Co-op Group has received planning approval for a 661,000 sq ft regional distribution centre at Symmetry Park, Biggleswade, which will support existing stores and growth plans for London, the south and south east.
The Group has secured a 20-year lease on the site, which represents the first pre-let development from the db Symmetry strategic land portfolio, acquired by Tritax Big Box REIT plc in February 2019.
Tom Leeming, development director at db symmetry, said: “Central Bedfordshire Council’s decision to grant planning permission will have a significant positive effect on Biggleswade with considerable inward investment and the creation of a wide range of jobs locally.
“The long-term letting to the Group really puts Biggleswade on the map as a strategic logistics business location. With planning now secured, our focus now turns to delivering this best-in-class facility for the Co-op.”
Andy Perry, supply chain and logistics director at the Group, said: “The infrastructure and site selection will deliver greater agility, scale and efficiency – improving service and availability at existing stores while building capacity to support our store investment programme and ambitions for continued growth.
“The new site will provide greater scale while future-proofing our operations. The move will reduce road miles and overall supply chain costs while supporting our new and existing stores in the south and south-east by having more of our products closer to our members and customers and the communities in which they live and work.”
Andrew Davie, assistant director for development infrastructure at Central Bedfordshire Council, added: “This planning decision marks another step towards the opening of the Co-op’s new facility which will create many jobs for the area.
“The retailer’s decision to open its regional distribution centre here is great news and we are pleased to have played a role in attracting this major retailer to the area. We look forward to working with the Co-op to secure employment opportunities for our residents and the wider economic benefits that this will bring to the area.”
Last year the Co-op opened a new £6m distribution centre at Inverness Airport Business Park, Scotland to serve its network of stores in the region. The Symmetry Park centre is set to open in early 2022, generating up to 1,200 jobs.