WORK is due to begin this month on an £85m Abbey Wood development set to create more than 500 jobs.

The Cross Quarter scheme includes a new 81,000sq ft Sainsbury’s store, a 100-bed hotel, library, nursery, 3,400 sq ft of business start-up premises, 216 homes - 23 of which will be affordable - and almost 500 new parking spaces.

Developers Development Securities PLC and Berkshire Investment Capital expect to be on site to demolish the vacant buildings at Harrow Manor Way and Felixstowe Road within the next few weeks, with the first phase of development expected to be completed late next year.

Director of the NLP design consultancy Steven Butterworth said: "Cross Quarter will trigger the transformation of Abbey Wood as a place to live, work, shop and play. It will revitalise the centre and its locality, adding £125m of value into the local economy over the next 10 years.

"The development will enable local people to shop in Abbey Wood for their weekly food shopping, boosting trade for existing retailers in the centre and creating over 500 full and part time jobs for local people."

He added: "The developers’ confidence and commitment to the scheme demonstrates the benefit marginal areas such as Abbey Wood will obtain from the London Crossrail project."

The project was approved by a Greenwich Council planning board last April, despite misgivings by the Greater London Authority about the size of the supermarket and an objection by Bexley Council concerning potential transport problems.

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