‘A new Tesco in Welwyn Garden City would generate 25-35 jobs, not 400’ say protesters
PUBLISHED: 14:05 17 June 2011
A ROW has broken out about the number of jobs which will be created by Tesco’s proposed development in Welwyn Garden City.
The supermarket giant has clashed with campaigners against a new store planned for Broadwater Road over employment figures contained in an independent report.
Tesco bosses have always stated their multi-million pound development would generate about 400 new jobs.
And while the report, compiled by planning and economic experts Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners, agrees it’s a “reasonable” assumption, the true picture it claims is somewhat different.
For, the review argues, due to job losses elsewhere caused by loss of trade at other stores, the “net increase in jobs in Welwyn Hatfield generated by the food store may only be 50 to 60 jobs”.
Tesco spokesman Michael Kissman said: “I’m pleased the report states there will be a net increase in the number of jobs in WGC associated with our development.”
However, he said he would be querying how the 50 to 60 figure had been calculated.
Mr Kissman said the report only focused on the retail aspect of the plan, and didn’t take into account any jobs that would be created through the leisure facilities, office space and housing which was also part of the overall development.
“It’s important the Tesco development is just one part of a significant regeneraton development.
“The feedback we’ve got is the many number of jobs are being welcomed.”
However, WGC Society chairman Shaun O’Reilly, said Tesco’s claims about 400 jobs had been “demolished”.
He went even further than the Nathaniel Lichfield report, by saying the society reckoned the number would be more like 25 to 35, in terms of full-time equivalents.
Mr O’Reilly said: “What Tesco do is give you no lies, but they don’t give you the full story either.
“It’s absolutely true there will be 400 jobs created, but what they don’t tell you is about the redundancies at other stores.
“When you think the whole town, and borough, has a limited amount of trade. If a new store comes in, it’s going to take trade from the other stores.”
Mr O’Reilly added the report was only an interim one, and the society would be planning to challenge some of the findings and submitting more evidence.
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