A new superstore is set to create around 240 jobs on the border of Birmingham and Sandwell.
Morrisons expects to open the supermarket on a derelict industrial site Holyhead Road in January 2011 after getting the go-ahead from city planners.
Coun Sybil Spence (Lab, Soho) added: “This is an impoverished area, we need the investment and the local jobs for local people.”
The majority of the new jobs will go to local people.
Morrisons spokesman James Brook pointed out that it would be good for the environment with less long car journeys to further stores and help those without cars.
He dismissed claims that the store would harm the Soho Road shopping area.
“The evidence from Small Heath, where there is a Morrisons and Asda stores is that this did not happen,” he said.
He added that the store would be handing £750,000 to the council to fund a town centre manager for Soho Road and pay for improvements to the local community.
Representatives of J Ross Developments were against the scheme claiming their Bills House building site on Soho Hill provided a more suitable location for a food store. This was rejected by planning officials and Morrison’s who claimed their site was too restricted.
Planning committee member Coun Adrian Delaney (Cons, Weoley) said that normally he would be unhappy to redesignate industrial land for retail use.
“But this site has been a vacant eyesore for 15 years and might never be developed. This will bring 240 jobs to the area and therefore I welcome it,” he said.
The planning committee’s unanimous approval must now be rubber stamped by the Government before building work can begin.
Two residents groups, the Soho Finger and West Handsworth Forums, gave their full backing to Morrisons and attended the planning committee.
Jean Allison, of Cross Street, who has lived in Handsworth for 29 years said that she is forced to travel several miles to Oldbury for her main shop, while others make long journeys to stores in Perry Barr, Great Barr, Cape Hill and Smethwick.
She said: “So many people cannot shop in our area. For too long the view has been that Handsworth only needs small budget or convenience stores.
“The petitions show that people want something upmarket in our area.”