Sainsbury’s has sprung a surprise on the people of Bingley by quietly applying to open a new supermarket in the heart of town.

But it is not the empty Bradford and Bingley headquarters, owned by the supermarket giant and currently up for sale.

Instead, Sainsbury’s hopes to move into Main Street and take over the former Co-op, which will be extended into the site currently occupied by Pizza Hut.

Bingley Chamber of Trade chairman Howard Martin said the plan only came to light when Sainsbury’s applied for a licence to sell alcohol from the address, 117 Main Street.

“This application had gone in for a liquor licence and that was the first anyone knew about it,” said Mr Martin.

“In view of what has happened regarding Sainsbury’s treatment of Bingley over the B&B, this news has really divided the town. A lot of people won’t believe it until the doors of the shop actually open.”

Mr Martin said there was concern that with the arrival of Aldi, plus the existing Co-op, other supermarket firms might be less interested in taking on the B&B building.

“Bingley is still crying out for a major supermarket on that big site,” he said.

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said the store would bring up to 25 full and part-time jobs.

“We are committed to the town and, since we made the difficult decision to not go ahead with our proposals on the Bradford & Bingley site, we have actively been looking for alternative sites in the area.

“The proposed Sainsbury’s Local would not be a 24-hour store and would trade from 7am to 11pm every day. If planning consent is granted, we would aim to be open by December.”

Councillor David Heseltine (Con, Bingley) said some would find it irksome that Sainsbury’s were now only investing in a small project.

“They promised us the earth and we’ve ended up with a plant pot of it,” said Coun Heseltine.