Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s is set to announce if work on its long-promised Bingley store will start in 2013.
Despite the company revealing record-breaking profits over the Christmas period, it “cannot guarantee” Bingley will be on its 2013/14 programme of new stores.
The company owns the former Bradford & Bingley headquarters in the town centre, which has been empty since 2009. It plans to clear the derelict site and build a supermarket and underground car park in its place. The project would create up to 250 jobs, 83 of those full time.
Despite Bradford Council giving the new store the go ahead in September 2011, there has been little progress and last year the company announced Bingley was not on its schedule of new developments for the 2012/13 financial year. The coming year’s schedule of developments will be announced at the end of the month.
Sainsbury’s recently reported it was the only major supermarket to see a year-on-year growth in sales over the Christmas period.
When asked if this meant the Bingley supermarket was likely to go ahead this year, a company spokesman said: “Sainsbury’s new stores plan for the 2013/14 financial year will be finalised early this year.
“As a prudent business, Sainsbury’s will invest available capital in those schemes that deliver the best returns and as such we cannot guarantee that Bingley will form part of the 2013/14 programme. However, Sainsbury’s have made a significant financial commitment in Bingley by purchasing this site and securing planning consent. As soon as we are in a position to provide detailed timescales we will let the local community know.”
Howard Martin, chairman of Bingley Chamber of Trade, said: “The last communication we had with them they said they were hoping to make an announcement in January. We expect them to honour that and make an announcement, be it positive or negative.
“The news that they have positive trading figures makes us a little bit more confident that we might be getting news that Bingley is in their development list, although Sainsbury’s haven’t given us any indication one way or another. I am a bit sceptical that a company the size of Sainsbury’s don’t know in early January what they are going to be up to in April, so I can’t see why they are delaying any announcement.
“It is a big piece of real estate in the town and it is has been lying idle for over a year. Sainsbury’s have cordoned it off and put metal shutters over the windows, so it looks worse than ever. It doesn’t give the right impression of Bingley.”