ANGRY residents and trade leaders confronted Sainsbury's bosses last night over the future of the former Bradford & Bingley headquarters in the town.
The supermarket chain sent a team of executives to the meeting, held at All Saints Church in Bingley, to explain its policy and future plans for the controversial Main Street building, which it owns and is viewed as an eyesore in the town.
Sainsbury's announced plans in 2011 to turn the former building society site into a 12,000 sq ft shopping space with two levels of underground parking, a cafe and an Explore Learning Centre.
But the proposals were cancelled last year and the unused building is to be pulled down.
The most recent cause of delay for demolition work were protected bats living in the 1970s-built block.
Chris Templeman, head of supermarket development at Sainsbury's, confirmed they have applied to Bradford Council to demolish all of the current site and hope to start work on this in "early autumn", possibly September. The demolition work would take 24 weeks to complete.
He revealed they have held talks with two unnamed interested parties, who would build two separate retail and residential developments on the site.
Two other supermarket chains were also approached about taking on the site, but both refused, he added.
Mr Templeman said: "Our intention is not to hang onto the site.
"Two potential parties have expressed strong interest in the site. We won't reveal their identities at the moment."
Howard Martin, Bingley Chamber of Trade & Commerce, said: "Bingley is a town that deserves a supermarket of its own.
"I can't see how a residential development would benefit. We need to bring footfall into Bingley.
"The feeling towards Sainsbury's is not great at the moment."
Angry Bingley resident Ros Dawson said: "It's time for Sainsbury's to take responsibility for that site.
"It's time they think about Bingley and execute some morals, so we think about Sainsbury's and not Shamesbury's."
Sainsbury's also said they would commit to holding a future public meeting in the town.
But David Green, Bradford Council leader, offered to get Sainsbury's in touch with the investment marketing arm of Leeds City Region to see what alternatives projects the site could be used for.
He said: "It needs to be for the benefit for the town of Bingley. It's quite a big site.
"It just strikes me that the opportunity to see if it can be used as an employment site to increase footfall in Bingley town centre has not been investigated thoroughly.
"It's worth having a look at it. It's just another avenue to go down."
But Sainsbury's will still have a presence in the town when they open a convenience store early next year, also in Main Street.