The Co-op has secured planning consent for a new 661,000 sq ft distribution centre for London and the South East.
The retailer says the new depot will create up to 1,200 jobs, and is slated to open in early 2022, situated just off the A1 at Symmetry Park, Biggleswade, less than 30 miles north of the M25.
The site, which reaches a total of nearly 50 acres, was purchased by developer db symmetry in the summer of 2017. db symmetry’s development director Tom Leeming said the decision by Bedfordshire Council to grant planning permission “puts Biggleswade on the map as a strategic logistics business location”.
Andy Perry, supply chain and logistics director, at the Co-op, 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 of England by having more of our products closer to our members and customers and the communities in which they live and work.”
The Co-op is currently embarking on an ambitious expansion project, aiming to open 100 new stores in 2019 alone.
In August last year the retailer opened a new £6m distribution centre at Inverness Airport Business Park in Scotland.
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, rather than other competing sites in the region 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.”