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Welcoming Another Major New Retailer to Bedford - Morrisons Opens its Doors

August 23, 2013 1:10 PM
Mayor Dave Hodgson with Ben Daley, Manager of the new Bedford Morrisons Store

Mayor Dave Hodgson with Ben Daley, manager of the new Bedford Morrisons store

Earlier this week I attended the opening of the brand new Morrisons store on Ampthill Road. The store is on the former Camford Works site, which had been derelict for many years, including all the way through the so-called 'boom' years.

Ampthill Road is obviously a major route into town for vast numbers of people each week, and it is fantasitic that this large, prominent site has been brought into use with a store providing new jobs, investment and of course greater choice for local shoppers. Just as that other high-profile gateway to Bedford, the bus station area, is now undergoing regeneration and improvement including a new bus station building itself, the new Morrisons sends another clear message out that Bedford is open for business and is a vibrant, attractive place to visit.

Morrisons has followed other major firms such as Waitrose and Go Outdoors in deciding to invest in Bedford, with B & Q another example of a large retailer recognising the benefits of investing here. You may have noticed that its new store opposite the Kempston Interchange Retail Park is almost complete and will also open soon.

The new Morrisons store has created 295 jobs in total, with a hugely impressive 165 (56%) of the new employees having previously been unemployed. Our pioneering Jobs Hub worked closely with Morrisons to help local unemployed people to access the new opportunities at the store.

In adition to providing more choice for local shoppers, the new Morrisons store also has a petrol station, and I hope that it well help ensure more genuine competition amongst local fuel retailers. I took the opportunity to raise this with the store at the opening, and stressed the importance of fair fuel pricing for local motorists and businesses.

There were large crowds at the store on Monday for what seemed to be a very successful opening, and I wish the store continuing success as part of a growing local economy here in Bedford Borough.