Sainsbury’s pulls plug on planned Sanofi site store

(Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

(Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images) - Credit: Getty Images

One of the UK’s largest supermarket chains has pulled the plug on plans for a new superstore on Dagenham’s former Sanofi site.

Aerial photo of the Sanofi site

Aerial photo of the Sanofi site - Credit: Archant

Although Sainsbury’s still own 10 acres of the Rainham Road South development, the retailers today confirmed that the proposed 61,600 sq ft shop will not be built.

Planning permission had been granted in December 2013 with the grocery giants buying the plot outright in March this year, but will now seek alternative arrangements.

“We have not taken this decision lightly and are very disappointed we are not able to open a new supermarket in Dagenham,” said a Sainsbury’s spokesman.

“Since the proposals were first announced, shopping patterns have changed considerably and following a review, the scheme is no longer viable for us.

“We have been extremely grateful for the level of local support for the scheme and recognise that this news will be very disappointing to many people.

“We will work closely with the council and others to look at longer term options for the site and will keep the community updated.”

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Expected to create around 450 full and part-time jobs, the proposed store had been set to feature a Sainsbury’s Tu clothing range, homeware and electrical goods as well as a wide selection of groceries including a deli and pizza counter.

The Post understands that a smaller convenience store could still open on the site, but Mark Bass, president of the Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce and former Sanofi site regeneration leader, admitted his disappointment.

“We had hoped it would happen,” said “Everyone wanted it.

“There are other options, I am sure, but ultimately it’s a hardly a surprise, considering all the publicity there has been about major supermarkets not opening big stores.”

Already home to 17 acres of highly-specialised research, development and manufacturing buildings through londoneast-uk, the site will soon boast a 78-bed Travelodge hotel, medical centre and warehousing units.

Dagenham’s newest pub, the Pipe Major, opened at the site last week and Mr Bass hopes the Sainbury’s plot can still be put to good use for the borough.

“They still own the land so I’m sure they will want to do something with it,” he added.

“The main priority from our perspective is that jobs can still be created through the site – let’s hope they can offer a similar opportunity.”

A spokesman for Barking and Dagenham Council said: “We are very disappointed to hear that Sainsbury’s no longer wish to proceed with the scheme they have planning approval for as part of the redevelopment of the former Sanofi site at Dagenham East.

“We understand the national picture for larger supermarkets is extremely challenging but we look forward to working with Sainsbury’s on amended proposals for the site including a smaller Sainsbury’s store and other retail units.

“With the recently completed Marstons pub and restaurant and the londoneast-uk technical and business park moving forward we are keen to see this part of the site progress and understand Sainsbury’s share this desire.”