SUPERMARKET giant Morrisons could open a new store in Blackwood, in a move which would bring hundreds of jobs to the town.

Caerphilly council’s planning committee will discuss an application on March 14 for a supermarket at the Blackwood Gate Retail Park.

Currently, the site’s owner Linnell Investments only has permission for bulky goods retailers to be sited there, but it hopes council officers will give consent for a supermarket to move in.

The site’s main 46,000 sq ft unit was occupied by Focus DIY, but after it went bust last year, this has been left vacant.

Linnell approached more than 200 other retailers of bulky items such as furniture, garden items and white goods – but none were interested.

It is nowpaying £45,000 a month for security, lighting and insurance at the site and company spokesman Howard Moss hopes consent will be approved for a supermarket to go there instead, after Morrisons expressed an interest.

He called it “a ticking time bomb”

and said: “This is the only chance for Blackwood Gate to succeed as a retail park. It would bring around 300 jobs to the area and is just over 100 yards from the High Street.”

A spokeswoman for Morrisons confirmed the chain was looking at the site, but, with permission not yet granted for a supermarket to be based there, she added: “It is early days”.

There are a further five empty units on the site, covering 34,000 sq ft and it is hoped Morrisons could act as an anchor to encourage other retailers to move to the site.

Linnell said the company received no objections after placing plans at Blackwood Miners’ Institute.

Blackwood councillors Nigel Dix, Kay Presley and Keith Smallman met representatives of Linnell at Bryn Meadows Golf Club, Maesycwmmer, yesterday and they all said they were passionate about the proposals.

Cllr Dix said: “Nobody wants to see the site empty.

“It will create so many newjobs for local people at a time when they are scarce.”

London-based Linnell spent £16million developing the site, which opened in 2004, but currently the Bumble Bee pub is the only business there.