The Range to open by start of December

Hattie Harrison Fran Taylor

Work started this week in preparation for the opening of The Range, a new discount warehouse which has taken over the site of the old Morrisons.

The Times has learned that all renovations to the site will be completed by November 21, with the store scheduled to open on December 1.

This newspaper revealed in May that The Range was taking over the site, a story denied at the time by the retailer.

The Range was founded in 1980 by retail tycoon Chris Dawson, a former street vendor, and turned into a chain with more than 100 stores offering 65,000 products across 16 departments, including DIY, homeware, furniture, lighting, arts and crafts and garden.

News that the Vale Road location’s time as a disused ‘eyesore’ is nearing an end will come as a relief to residents who can remember when it was left derelict for six years after Morrisons first pulled out in 2006 – before later returning. They then closed the store for a second time on April 2 this year.

The furniture chain employs around 3,000 staff nationwide, with the closest shops prior to the opening in Tunbridge Wells located in Maidstone and Eastbourne.

Originally named CDS Superstores, the company is now one of the UK’s largest mid-sized private firms, recording profits of £56.9million last year.

Mr Dawson is the 77th richest person in Britain, with an estimated fortune of £1.65billion as of last year.

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