TESCO says its new store at Kinson will inject millions of pounds a year into the area’s economy.

Work on the site of the former shopping arcade at Wimborne Road is gathering pace, with the first phase nearing its completion.

June and July will see construction of the 20,000sqft store begin, with the fit-out starting in September.

Speaking to the Daily Echo on-site, Sophie Akokhia, Tesco corporate affairs manager, said: “The five business units – which are part of the new development – will also start in July, with a view to opening at Christmas along with the store.

“We’ve had a lot of interest in those as well from national names.”

There have been traffic hold-ups in recent weeks because of roadworks associated with the development, which has caused frustration in the area.

Sophie said Tesco was looking at ways to minimise the disruption of future phases, while business leaders like Ramesh Lal, chairman of Kinson Business Forum, say the short-term pain will be worth the long-term gain.

As previously reported in the Daily Echo, Tesco plans to offer 120 jobs at the store, with those in long-term unemployment being guaranteed an interview.

“That should mean a contribution of £1 million a year through wages into the local economy,” said Sophie.

She added that it was predicted that other businesses would benefit from £1.7 million a year in spin-off trade.

“We think it’s going to be a big boost for Kinson and encourage people to shop locally.

“I think the last research showed that 10 per cent of people in Kinson did their main food shop here,” Sophie said.

Ramesh added: “There’s always going to be some anxiety, but overall it’s very positive. The traders really do feel that it’s going to kick-start the area and adjoining areas too.

“I think the general feeling is that Tesco will become a focus for the whole area. The residents and businesses expect this will be a catalyst for the regeneration of Kinson.”

Sophie said: “We recognise the benefits of investing in Kinson and that investment will be close to £20 million. We’ve seen elsewhere that it can kick-start other investment and be a catalyst.”

Opening hours have yet to be decided, but Sophie said the store would not be open 24 hours.

Kinson traders support Tesco’s impact on economy

TRADERS voiced their support for the new Tesco store at a meeting organised by the Kinson Business Forum (KBF).

More than 50 businesspeople and residents met at the Conservative Club to hear about the latest developments and ask questions about the scheme.

Throughout the meeting residents spoke of their strong support for the store and the “exciting opportunities” it would bring to the area.

Some concerns were raised about traffic during the build to which Sophie Akokhia, Tesco corporate affairs manager, assured residents a phased scheme will be implemented in an attempt to minimise disruption.

Dean Walsh, from the developers Vinci, said the scheme would also include safety improvements to Wimborne Road following an incident in March where two young boys were involved in a collision with a car.

He said: “We will be improving the island in the middle. Behind the scenes we have been looking into things like this.”

Richard Miklaszewicz, owner of the Flooring Factory, received a round of applause after saying the removal of the shopping arcade had already improved Kinson by 200 per cent.

He added: “You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

“As long as people have got some idea of the schedule of the works I think most people are happy with the way things are going.”