|Tesco's Regional Distribution Centre welcome at Solstice Park, MP is told
7 Apr 2007
Following the public meeting held at Abbotts Ann to discuss the possible location of Tesco's regional Distribution at Andover Airfield, Sir George Young, the local MP, agreed to make enquiries to see whether the development could be better accommodated at Solstice Park, 14 miles down the A303.
"Solstice Park is a 160 acre development, destined to become one of the largest mixed-use business parks in central southern England. It has a new all-ways junction, giving direct access to the A303, and provides better access to this road than the airfield site."
Agents acting for Solstice Park told Sir George they "would be delighted to explore matters with Tesco and encourage them to locate at Solstice Park."
Sir George pointed out that there were three roundabouts between the airfield site and the eastbound lane of the A303 - where most of the Tesco traffic would be heading for. And the airfield site would also inevitably be accessed from the west, along roads unsuited to carry more traffic than they do at the moment.
He added that he wanted to see the airfield site developed to provide new jobs - as in the local plan. "But Andover should be ambitious about the jobs it should generate in the future. Andover is fortunate to have relatively high employment and I welcome that; but average wages in the town are not high, and we need to get a better mix of jobs in the future. We can do that by attracting employers who can pay above average wages for more highly-skilled jobs. The reality is that most of the jobs in the Tesco warehouse would be relatively low paid; and the size of the proposed development would squeeze out other job-creating opportunities which might serve the interests of the town better."
"I was a member of the Andover Vision Board which said this about employment in the town under the heading "It's our time for 21st Century Enterprise."
"....we want to bring new skills into the town, new skills to support business growth and create the high quality employment opportunities we need."
It identifies Andover Airfield as a "business park offering a range of office, industrial and storage facilities."
Sir George added that it was the largest cleared site that Andover has for new jobs. "We must ensure we get the right balance of new jobs here and not simply accept the first bid that comes along."