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Folkestone: Temporary store planned for Morrisons site in Cheriton ravaged by fire

By Molly Mileham-Chappell

A council leader has vowed to "speed up the planning process" to give a temporary supermarket the green light after its permanent building was ravaged by fire.

Morrisons on Cheriton Road went up in flames last week after a deep fat fryer in the store's cafe is believed to have caught alight.

More than 50 firefighters battled the blaze at its peak after it began on Thursday morning, but there were fortunately no injuries.

Now, Folkestone and Hythe District Council has confirmed a temporary store is in the pipeline, destined for the same site.

A council spokeswoman said it is 'early days' for the temporary plans, but a council-issued letter to residents this week said: "Whilst Morrisons assess how best to recommence trading, we understand they wish to erect a new temporary store.

"While the precise details are being prepared, we understand it is their intention for the temporary store to run along the hedge that abuts the Three Hills car park, as far away from local residents as possible."

The letter continued: "We do appreciate that there will be some disruption and disturbance caused by both the demolition of the existing store and the erection of a new store and we, as the council, are doing everything in our power to facilitate and expedite all of this."

Morrisons was approached for comment about the plans, but declined to comment further.

The roof of the Morrisons supermarket has collapsed. Picture: Daisy Philpott (5290645)
The roof of the Morrisons supermarket has collapsed. Picture: Daisy Philpott (5290645)

Council leader Cllr David Monk said: "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."

Folkestone Morrisons. Picture: Paul Amos
Folkestone Morrisons. Picture: Paul Amos

A dozen fire engines were called to the store at around 7.30am on Thursday, while the inferno 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 store manager Andy Parkinson confirmed earlier this week that a free bus service is being put on for customers.

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

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.

The service 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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