Sainsbury’s abandons Barking supermarket plans
PUBLISHED: 16:06 04 October 2016 | UPDATED: 16:45 04 October 2016
One of the country’s biggest supermarket chains has abandoned plans of building a store in Barking, a year after pulling the plug on a similar scheme in Dagenham.
Sainsbury’s had pledged to build a 9,545sq m store in the Abbey Retail Park, in Abbey Road, which would have created 450 jobs.
However the retailer has today U-turned, blaming the decision on changing “shopping patterns”.
“We can confirm that we are no longer going ahead with our plans to open a store in Barking,” said a Sainsbury’s spokesman.
“We have not taken this decision lightly but since we first announced our scheme shopping patterns have changed considerably and following a review the store is no longer viable.
“We have been extremely grateful for the strong level of local support and recognise that this news will be disappointing to many people.
“We will continue to focus on our existing stores across the area.”
In July last year Sainsbury’s announced that a proposed 61,600 sq ft shop on the former Sanofi site, in Rainham Road South, Dagenham, which looked set to create about 450 jobs, would also not be built.
Council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell has hit out at the supermarket, which could have created 900 jobs for the borough.
“I think the community will be very disappointed in what seems a short-sighted decision by Sainsbury’s,” he said.
“But interest in Barking generally is at all an time high, so we are confident that we can find an alternative use for the site that will benefit local people and bring new opportunities to the area.”
The plans initially emerged in 2013 after a High Court judge overturned rival plans by Tesco to expand its nearby superstore, at the corner of Highbridge Road and Longbridge Road, Barking, from 30,000sq ft to 44,000sq ft.
Although building work on 597 rental homes at the Estates and Agency-owned retail park will start next year, Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce president Mark Bass insists the news is “disappointing”.
“It’s a great shame,” he said. “We were all looking forward to them coming and providing the consumer with a bit more choice.
“Although I understand the supermarket business is changing, I think this was something people did genuinely want.”
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