LIVERPOOL’S biggest supermarket will be built on the site of an old bingo hall.

It will be the largest private investment in Toxteth since the notorious riots of 1981.

Tesco has promised to offer at least half the 500 jobs which will be created at the supermarket to long-term unemployed residents.

The retail giant hopes to start construction of the £30m store on the former Mecca bingo hall, in Park Road, by September.

The scheme, which was approved by Liverpool council’s planning committee yesterday, will also see £600,000 spent improving the area around the site.

Riverside councillor Steve Munby said the store would provide regeneration.

He said:“This is fantastic News and is a triumph for local partnership work.

“At present, the site is desolate, but now we will have 500 jobs moving into Liverpool 8 at the start of a recession.”

Tesco will work with local organisations like the Plus Dane Group to build the new store.

Deborah Hayeems, the firm’s regional corporate affairs manager, said: “We are excited to get going with the regeneration partnership.

“We are already working with JobCentre Plus to get people ready for jobs.

“This is a dynamic community but has high unemployment, so we are ringfencing half the jobs for long-term unemployed local people.”

The planned store will have almost 540 car parking spaces and a petrol station.

The site will have the capacity to house several small shops, including a community cafe.

The buildings on the site will be demolished to make way for what will be the city’s biggest supermarket.

Tesco hope the Crown Post Office can be temporarily relocated and then move into the new store.

At yesterday’s meeting, concerns were raised at the large scale of the development.

One letter of objection and a 13-signature petition containing concerns about traffic were received by the council.

Planning officer Mark Loughran said: .

“But we recognise the regeneration benefits.

“The site is derelict and in much need of investment.”

Committee chairman Cllr Dave Irving said: “It is a massive store, far bigger than I am happy with.

“But you have to take into account the regeneration of the area.

“It will create some jobs, but I just wonder how many shops will close.”

THE LIVERPOOL ECHO