Hundreds of new jobs look set to be created in Staffordshire after Pets at Home was granted permission to build a huge new warehouse.

The national retailer wants to build a 670,000 sq ft storage and distribution centre at Stafford North Business Park, off the A34, which will employ more than 800 staff.

Pets at Home will close its Stoke-on-Trent warehouse 12 miles away as part of the plans, and around 450 employees currently working at the Trentham Lakes distribution centre will be offered the chance to commute to Stafford.

Work is expected to start on the new building this year ahead of its opening in 2022.

Birmingham-based Stoford Developments submitted the application on behalf of the retailer.

Stoford planning director Jo Russell said: "We have worked with Pets at Home to bring this exciting development to Stafford. We have worked hard to design a scheme which will mitigate the impact of development.

"It will bring a £120m investment into the borough with opportunities for jobs and spin off developments.

Planners at Stafford Borough Council approved the plans.

Ward councillor Mark Winnington said: "This awful pandemic is taking its toll on the business world. I think this application – and the fact it is coming now – is really important for Stafford borough. It gives the message that Stafford borough is open for business and it is part of the light at the end of the tunnel."

Approval of a £48million distribution base for national retailer Pets at Home in Stafford means more employment opportunities and will strengthen economic recovery, the county council’s deputy leader has said.

Philip White, who is also cabinet member for economy and skills, said the creation of 1,200 jobs on the site at Redhill just north of the town, was a welcome boost with many people facing uncertainty due to the impact of the pandemic.

It follows the news that fashion retailer Asos is building its new distribution centre at Fradley Park, Lichfield, with the potential to create up to 2,000 jobs.

Philip said: “The approval of the Pets at Home centre is fantastic news for Stafford and the wider area. It will add to an already thriving commercial site with excellent connectivity positioned on the A34 and close to junction 14 of the M6. A development of this size will bring a mix of head office and warehouse positions so there will be good number of higher skilled roles created.

“Logistics is a strong sector in Staffordshire due to our central location and available workforce. The county council continually works with a range of partners to ensure Staffordshire remains an attractive location to locate businesses of all sizes. Large developments like these also have a positive impact on supply and service businesses in the area.

“As we move out of the pandemic later this year, it is hugely encouraging to know that there will be hundreds of available positions for Staffordshire people.”

The facility will include office space and 600 car parking spaces.