Discount retailer Aldi is to build a new regional distribution centre on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent to support its expansion in the South East of England.
Over the next five years, the retailer is planning to increase the number of stores in the region from 40 to 100, as part of an overall plan which will see UK store numbers reach 500.
The South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) has submitted an application for the site preparation and infrastructure works on Phase 1 of the Neats Court employment area, of some 50 acres, which is where Aldi intends to open its RDC with the creation of some 200 jobs.
This development provides the funding for section one of the link road and SEEDA hopes to announce progress on the remaining funding required in the near future.
It is expected that at least 160 of the jobs created by Aldi on the Isle of Sheppey will be filled by local people.
Nick Young of SEEDA said: “The creation of approximately 200 jobs will be a huge boost to the local economy and will really kick-start the whole project to create a vibrant, sustainable community for everyone living in the area.
“The master plan for the entire project is currently with Swale Borough Council and the next step will be taking that master plan out to public consultation.”
Greg Macdonald, chief executive of Swale Forward, said: “This is excellent news for Sheppey. The new Sheppey Crossing has opened up opportunities for the island, and Aldi’s decision to invest in the island is a very positive start to the job creation that Queenborough and Rushenden and the rest of Swale will see over the coming years.”
It is anticipated that site preparation and infrastructure works could begin in autumn 2007, which will include the first section of the link road.
l In Durham, Aldi rival Lidl is expected to submit plans for its eighth distribution centre in the UK. Reports suggest that the distribution centre could create up to 250 jobs in the area.