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New temporary store confirmed for Morrisons in Cheriton, Folkestone, after fire destroys shop

By Molly Mileham-Chappell

Morrisons has confirmed they will open a new temporary store in Folkestone before Christmas, after a blaze ripped through the existing building.

Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) leader Cllr David Monk stated last week that they would do all they could to 'speed up the planning process' for the supermarket chain to build the interim store so they could serve customers again.

The building on Cheriton Road went up in flames on Thursday, November 8, after a deep fat fryer in the store's cafe is believed to have caught alight.

The Morrisons supermarket now the fire has been extinguished. Picture: Kent Fire and Rescue (5311391)
The Morrisons supermarket now the fire has been extinguished. Picture: Kent Fire and Rescue (5311391)

More than 50 firefighters battled the blaze at its peak. There were fortunately no injuries.

The chain announced today that once complete, the store will be around 10,000 sq ft in size, with enough Morrisons stock for a weekly shop as well as Christmas products.

The company has placed an order for the temporary structure with the district council and will be seeking planning permission 'in due course'. It has also applied for an alcohol license.

Andrew Newton, Morrisons property director, said: "We’d like to thank customers and colleagues for their support.

"We’d also like to thank FHDC for their help in getting a temporary store up and running.

"We are committed to serving customers in Folkestone and we are looking forward to opening the doors of our new temporary store in the coming weeks.”

The temporary store will include fridges, freezers, signage, checkouts and 'everything that customers would expect from a supermarket'.

The statement added: "In time, Morrisons will be talking to customers and the council about plans to rebuild the permanent store."

Cllr David Monk leader of Folkestone and Hythe District Council
Cllr David Monk leader of Folkestone and Hythe District Council

Council leader Cllr David Monk said last week: "It’s great news that Morrisons is planning to set up a temporary store so soon after the devastating fire on Thursday.

"We know how valuable Morrisons is, both as a local employer and as a favourite supermarket for hundreds of shoppers.

"We'll continue to support the company in any way we can.

"Building control was on hand throughout Thursday to advise about making what remained of the building safe, and we'll do all we can to speed up the planning process for the temporary store.

"We hope customers will repay Morrisons' commitment by shopping there as soon as the doors open."

A dozen fire engines were called to the store at around 7.30am on the day of the fire which destroyed the building's roof.

The Three Hills Sports Park, next to the supermarket, was evacuated for the day because of the smoke from the store.

The road was closed off but re-opened on Friday with temporary traffic lights in place.

The council leader also confirmed last week that the store had assured there would be no risk to jobs.

The Morrisons supermarket in Folkestone is on fire (5288587)
The Morrisons supermarket in Folkestone is on fire (5288587)

The store manager Andy Parkinson said last week that a free bus service is being put on for customers. The stop is outside the bowling club next to the Morrisons store on Cheriton Road, and passengers will be driven to the Dover store and back again.

Services will run between 9am to 6pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 5pm on Sunday.

There will also be extra delivery slots on their website for home deliveries in Folkestone.

To hear from eyewitnesses at the scene, visit our live blog of the day's events.

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