A WORLDWIDE convenience store chain is preparing to spend almost £100,000 to set up shop in Greenock - and create seven new jobs.

Spar is planning to move into a new retail block earmarked for the former Larkfield Masonic Association social club site in Auchmead Road.

The household name looks set to join Domino's Pizza and bakery chain Greggs at the four-unit development, after applying for a provisional off-sales licence, which was yesterday granted by the Inverclyde Licensing Board.

Spar is a franchise business and the application was submitted by Amina Ahmed, who was present at yesterday's meeting.

The Tele has learned that £80k will be spent on the new unit at the corner of Auchmead Road and Inverkip Road and that seven employees will be taken on.

Work on the retail block has yet to begin but, according to the application, Spar will occupy unit three.

The document also states that the shop would open at 7am and alcohol would be sold between 10am and 10pm.

Councillors on the licensing board unanimously approved the provisional off-sales application.

Officials said the proposals are within local policy and there were no objections.

Board member Natasha Murphy, who is also a councillor for neighbouring ward seven, said: "I'm a bit surprised to see no objections from the NHS based on health trends and alcohol-related illnesses in that area."

Licensing chairman, Ronnie Ahlfeld, agreed to raise the matter at the next meeting of the local alcohol and drugs partnership group.

Spar will require a full premises licence at a later date before alcoholic products can be sold on the premises.

Permission for the Auchmead Road retail development was approved exactly a year ago.

The application - for three retail units and one hot food takeaway - was initially refused but developers Sava Estates won on appeal to the local review body.

There will also be 14 car parking spaces, including two disabled bays, and a loading area.

Developers say the retail block will create 40 jobs in total.