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Sainsbury’s still has eye on town site
8:34am Friday 19th October 2012 in Ledbury
SAINSBURY’S has said that a Ledbury store is still on the agenda after pulling out of negotiations for a store in rival market town Leominster.
The supermarket giant still hopes to build a new store in Herefordshire and has Ledbury very much in mind.
Sainsbury’s plan for a new store on the New Mills Industrial Estate in Ledbury provoked a fierce battle between supporters and opponents in the town before it was rejected by Herefordshire councillors in February.
But regional development executive Andrew Sanderson said it was the strong public support shown during public consultation that had encouraged the ambitions of the supermarket giant.
He said: “At present we are not in negotiations with any developer in Leominster.
“However, we are always interested in opportunities to bring new stores into Herefordshire.
“Sainsbury’s will not be submitting a new application for a food store in Ledbury at this current time.
“However we do still have an interest in bringing a store to Ledbury in the future, particularly considering the strong local support received during public consultation.”
Sainsbury’s did have the option of opening a store on a site in Leominster, at the Thomas Panels and Profiles site in Southern Avenue, but ruled out the move this week.
The news comes just weeks after Galebreaker gained planning permission for a move from the New Mills Industrial Estate, off the Ledbury bypass, to a new site off the Bromyard Road.
Sainsbury’s negotiated with Galebreaker last year to buy its present site.
The major Ledbury employer pressed ahead with its relocation plans, submitting its planning application form for the new Bromyard Road base.
Herefordshire councillor for Ledbury Peter Watts said: “I would say Ledbury is Sainsbury’s preferred option.
“I fear the town would divide itself again, which would not be good.”
Ledbury mayor Coun Phill Bettington said he was “not surprised” that Sainsbury’s had expressed interest in Ledbury once more.
He said: “Big companies like that don’t give up easily.
Personally, I don’t want this to upset the town, as it did last time.”