The plans were interesting visually and the artist's impressions were certainly more attractive than the empty building as it is at the moment. The company will need to submit a new planning application because the current permission limits the type of goods that can be sold there.
A lot was made at the presentation of the benefits to the local economy with the estimate of 46 full time equivalent jobs at the new shops. This gave me the chance to ask if the organisation was a living wage employer. (The living wage is calculated according to the cost of living, and is voluntary on the part of employers. In 2014 it is £7.85, higher than the statutory minimum wage of £6.50.)
The consultants present at the meeting did not know the answer, but offered to find out for me. Just one week later a reply has come via the Town Clerk. Here is the answer to the simple question "Are TKMaxx and Homesense living wage employers?":
Please find below a response from TJX Europe (owners of TKMaxx and HomeSense) on the query raised at the meeting by Cllr Day:
At TJX Europe we know what an important part our people play in our success. We’re always looking for ways to recognise their contributions and reward their achievements. We review salaries on an annual basis, ensuring we remain competitive in the industry. We also operate assorted performance bonus schemes, dependent on the achievement of company targets.
I guess that's a "no" then.