Pets at Home has signed a conditional agreement for a 20-year lease of a proposed development on a 52-acre site – the size of nine football pitches – at Stafford North Business Park, close to Junction 14 of the M6.
Pets at Home bosses said the current site at Stoke, which employs 450 people, would close, but all colleagues would be offered the opportunity to transfer.
Were the plans to go ahead, the site would employ about 1,000 people when fully operational in 2024, and the £48m investment would be the biggest in Pets at Home's history.
Stoford Developments would deliver the scheme, which comprises a purpose-built warehouse unit of 620,000 sq ft and a three-storey office of 50,000 sq ft.
An additional 100,000 sq ft of expansion land would also be available, if required.
Plans include a new roundabout on the A34 Stone Road and a development access road serving the new warehouse unit.
An online public consultation has been launched, and pending the outcome, a planning application is expected to be submitted to Stafford Borough Council in September. Construction could start on site in 2021, subject to planning consent, with completion pre fit-out anticipated during 2022.
A Pets at Home spokesman said: “We are investing £48m in a new hi-tech distribution centre to help ensure we have the right products in the right place, at the right time, to meet customer demand. The new centre will support both our current position as the UK’s leading pet care business as well as our future growth.
“All of our colleagues at our Stoke-on-Trent distribution centre will be offered the opportunity to transfer to the new development, which is only 12 miles from the existing site and scheduled to be fully operational by 2024.”
Patrick Farrington, leader of Stafford Borough Council, welcomed the news.
He said: “One of our key priorities is growth of the borough and this includes attracting more businesses and creating more jobs in the area.
"We are working hard to bring more businesses to our borough in these difficult times
"Investors both within and outside the UK are impressed by our skilled workforce and the great transport links we have to the rest of the country via road, rail and even air.
"And so it is good to hear another high profile business wants to make its home in Stafford.”
The proposal forms phase two of Redhill Business Park, which was developed following an £11 million investment by Staffordshire County Council. Local occupiers include Iron Mountain, GE Grid Solutions, Screwfix, Culina, Saint Gobain and OMICRON.