Morrisons plans to exploit spare car parking space at some of its stores by leasing it to hotels, restaurants and MOT centres.

The retailer has identified 24 freehold sites around the country with particularly large car parks that rarely reach full capacity, and has decided the spaces farthest away from each store could be put to better use.

Land up for grabs ranges from 0.2-0.5 acres in size. Any type of development will be considered except car washes, which Morrisons already operates on petrol station forecourts.

The sites are being promoted through a website set up by Morrisons' property consultant , Rapleys.

"People are only prepared to push their trollies a certain distance," said Russell Smith, partner at Rapleys. "So we thought why not turn over the redundant space to complementary retailers?"

Proposals will be subject to planning permission, which none of the sites currently has. But this hasn't deterred interested parties, said Smith. "In the first two days we had 1,570 hits on the website. It's getting a lot of interest and we've had myriad enquiries from fast food restaurants to hotels. We've even had calls on packages for the whole lot."

Smith was reluctant to put a figure on what the intiative was likely to net .

"It really depends on what use is proposed," he said. "In addition, the specific site areas illustrated are only indicative at this stage."

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