Wilko to stay in Melton

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Melton’s Wilko store is staying put - it was confirmed this week - after its landlord was refused permission to change the use of the Nottingham Street unit.

Planning permission had been sought to convert the retail unit into the two units it once was with an option to change the use of one of them to a restaurant.

The application had raised doubts over the future of the Wilko store, which has been in the town for 51 years.

At a Melton Council planning committee on Thursday, strong concerns were aired about the potential loss of another national retailer and the detrimental impact it would have on the town.

Mark Hallam, who part owns Amici, a cafe and bistro next door to Wilko, said “I strongly object to a change of use. It would be detrimental to the town and safe to assume Wilko would cease to trade.

“The town currently has plenty of other small units which the landlord could use.”

Councillors agreed and questioned why Melton needed any more restaurant choices, the amount of job losses the closure of Wilko would result in and argued the change of use to a restaurant would be better suited to smaller units at other sites in the town.

After the meeting, a Wilko spokesman said: “We’ve loved serving our customers in Melton and we believe our range, quality and choice makes an important contribution to high street shopping in the town.

“Our current lease was due to expire in March next year but we can confirm that we will be staying on and have successfully negotiated a new lease.

“We’re also very grateful to those who voted against a change of use for the premises we occupy as this would have jeopardised our plans to stay.”

l What’s your reaction to the council’s decision? Do we need any more restaurants? Email your views to our editor, Paul Richardson, at paul.richardson1@jpress.co.uk