UTTOXETER’S jobless residents are waiting with baited breath as discussions surrounding new jobs at Carter’s Square are set to get underway.
Uttoxeter’s brand new, state-of-the art shopping centre has already been under construction for more than six months.
Hundreds of applications are expected to roll in before May 12, which has now been announced as the official opening date for the forthcoming development’s ASDA store.
And, with jobseekers anxiously waiting to see whether roles will be filled by people from in and around town, borough council bosses have pledged to help them find work at Carter’s Square.
They will meet with developer Lingfield this month to discuss how to ensure jobs at the shopping centre go to those from the Uttoxeter area.
A spokesman for East Staffordshire Borough Council said: “Recruitment of personnel will be done through the owners of the businesses on Carter’s Square.
“The council will support this process and support local people in securing jobs on this development.
“The Council is meeting with Lingfield on February 26 to discuss this.
“Works on site are progressing well, and the first shop, ASDA, will open on May 12.”
As well as ASDA, Carter’s Square, situated off High Street and Smithfield Road, will include Home Bargains, Costa Coffee, Holland & Barrett, Phones 4u, Wilkinson’s, Barnardo’s and a health centre and doctor’s surgery.
There is still one unit to let and Uttoxeter residents would favour a fashion store to fill it.
One of those set to benefit from the development will be Uttoxeter resident Nicholas Blurton (pictured).
The 51-year-old has been out of work since a stroke forced him to abandon his career as a driver in 2009.
Having since sent out more than 3,000 job applications in four years, he is hoping Carter’s Square will finally provide him with permanent, full-time employment.
He said: “I still have speech and mobility problems but have effectively learned to walk and talk again from scratch.
“Particularly living in Uttoxeter, not being able to drive has been a real problem.
“I catch the bus every day to do voluntary work at the Salvation Army but having no driving licence is a massive negative when trying to find work of any kind.
“However, as soon as jobs are advertised at Carter’s Square, I’ll be handing in my CV.”