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Supermarket set for former Spam factory.

Byline: Larry Neild

SUPERMARKET chain Morrisons is to open its first ever outlet in Liverpool.

The development is part of a multi-million pound plan to transform Belle Vale shopping centre and the nearby former Spam factory.

A complex deal to resolve the future of the derelict Newforge factory site next to the shopping centre has now been completed.

Newforge closed in the 1990s when five decades of Spam production at Gateacre came to an end, leaving 140 people without jobs.

Two years ago Morrisons unveiled a plan to transform the one-time food plant into a supermarket, creating hundreds of new jobs in south Liverpool.

But there was tough opposition from local people and also Mars Pension Trustees, owners of the Belle Vale shopping centre.

Last night a new deal was announced between Liverpool City Council, Mars Pension Trustees and their partners St Modwen Developments Ltd, and Morrisons Supermarkets. It will finally see the building of the store and a major facelift for the shopping centre.

The city council now owns the freehold of the Newforge site and has granted a new lease of the factory and the shopping centre to Mars.

Meanwhile Mars has granted an underlease of the Newforge site to Morrisons.

It means the new-look shopping centre will include the first Morrisons supermarket to be built in the city. Morrisons will now redevelop the factory site with a new 74,000 sq ft supermarket that will front onto the shopping centre car park.

The car park will be resurfaced and upgraded.

The scheme will also include a petrol filling station.

In the longer term St Modwen intends to refurbish and regenerate the entire Shopping Centre.

It is also planned to construct a new drive-through restaurant on the Childwall Valley Road frontage of the centre.

Liverpool City Council has played a key role in putting all the new agreements in place and will retain a share in the future rental value of the shopping centre.

Councillor Peter Millea, executive member for regeneration, said: ``This deal paves the way to give the Belle Vale shopping centre a new lease of life.

``Local residents will be delighted that the Newforge site - which is currently an eyesore - is going to be used by an established company such as Morrisons who have helped to develop and regenerate district shopping centres throughout the country.''
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 8, 2002
Words:390
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