Brakes has secured planning permission for a 200,000 sq ft distribution centre in Warrington.

Work on the multi-temperature site, which has an operating licence for more than 200 vehicles, will start next year.

The site is expected to be operational by the end of 2013 and will replace storage and delivery at sites in Manchester, Rochdale and Runcorn, which Brakes said might be retained for some support functions.

In a letter to staff, UK supply chain director Nick Smart said: “This site is part of our longterm strategy to invest in our network to meet our growth projections and to ensure we have appropriate capacity in the North West.”

Smart said phased relocation of supply chain staff was expected during late 2013 and into 2014. However, staff have raised concerns that the new site would inevitably lead to job losses across the three depots.

“It does not take an idiot to work out that there will be job losses,” one staff member told The Grocer. “You won’t need three depot managers or three transport managers.”

However, a Brakes spokesman insisted that the company did “not anticipate any job losses”.

“A key consideration in planning the location of the new site is the ability to retain and secure roles for our current employees who work at the Manchester, Rochdale and Runcorn depots,” the spokesman said.

“We are therefore delighted to have secured ongoing employment, in an uncertain economic climate, and do not anticipate any job losses.”