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Co-op applies to build £600,000 store at Thistle Hill estate, Minster

By John Nurden

Residents could finally get the shop they were promised 23 years ago.

Co-op Food has submitted plans for a 427-square metre store off Aspen Drive, Minster on the Isle of Sheppey with 34 car parking spaces.

Minster parish councillor Cllr Elliot Jayes, who lives on the Thistle Hill estate, welcomed the news.

Minster parish councillor Cllr Elliot Jayes.

Minster parish councillor Cllr Elliot Jayes.

He said: “It will be nice to have a named retailer on the site at last. This was part of the original plan when the estate was first built in 1995.”

But he added: “Because we have been promised things like this before, I’m not holding my breath.”

The application for the £600,000 development was submitted to Swale council on January 18. The store is expected to create 20 new jobs.

Planning permission for the estate was first granted in 1995 and included housing, a primary school and shops. Most of the homes and the primary school have already been built but the shops never materialised.

Proposed plans for a Co-op convenience store at Thistle Hill, Minster.

Proposed plans for a Co-op convenience store at Thistle Hill, Minster.

Further permission was given in August 2015 to build two retail units, one for a 551-square metre convenience store and one for a row of shops.

But the original national retailer pulled out.

WYG Group planning director Gary Morris, who has submitted the application, said: “Commercial Development Projects has now agreed terms with the Cooperative to trade the convenience store, providing a long-awaited and much-needed retail facility for the settlement.”

He said Co-op Food wanted a slightly smaller building than in the 2015 plan. He has also asked for the plans for the individual shops to be abandoned because there has been no interest in running them.

The new store will go between the community centre and Thistle Hill Academy.

Co-op Food is the largest division of the Co-operative Group with more than 2,700 stores nationwide.

Craig Smith, acquisitions manager for the Co-op, said: "We are looking forward to opening a new store in Minster on the Isle of Sheppey.

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to provide shoppers with our wide range of award-winning food, in a store designed to be easy to use for everyone.

"The new store will also bring a funding boost for community groups through the Co-op’s membership scheme. Members receive a 5% reward on purchases of own-branded products and services with a further 1% going directly to local causes to make a difference in the community."

The shop should be open early 2019.

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