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Delay on Wolverhampton Sainsbury's store start

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The announcement of a start date for work on a £65 million supermarket in Wolverhampton city centre has been pushed back.

Sainsbury's had been hoping to reveal when it would start work on its new store in Raglan Street by the end of last month.

However, it has emerged that the programme of works for the project has yet to be finalised and it could now be months before a start date is announced.

Sainsbury's spokesman Richard Harris said: "Sainsbury's had hoped to be in a position to announce a start date in January or February.

"Unfortunately we are still waiting for the works programme to be finalised and cannot yet confirm a start date.

"However, as soon as the works programme is finalised we will share it with the local community."

The site off the Wolverhampton Ring Road used to house the former Lord Raglan pub and preparation work to get the land ready for construction has been ongoing over the past few months.

Once completed the 90,000 sq ft store will create 190 new jobs. Part of the Sainsbury's redevelopment includes plans to transform the landmark Attwood building in Chapel Ash into 22 homes, offices and a cafe or restaurant.

Sainsbury's had spent more than a decade battling with Tesco over the right to build on the land.

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The dispute went all the way to the Supreme Court and was only resolved when Tesco was told it could develop the separate former Royal Hospital site with a £60m store spanning 97,000 sq ft.

Around 10 per cent of the land for the Sainsbury's store in Raglan Street was owned by Tesco but the company handed over its share of the site at the end of last year. Wolverhampton regeneration chief Councillor Peter Bilson said the council was keen to see work get under way on the development as it would mean the creation of new jobs in the area.

He said: "We are very anxious to see work start on the site. We understand contracts have now been exchanged with Tesco so hopefully there are no blockages."

Last week Sainbury's announced it is also opening one of its Local stores in Compton Road just a few minutes from the Raglan Street development.

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Work is due to start on the new building next month. The Compton Road store will go on the site of the former Quarterhouse Pub.

Earlier this week the supermarket was given the go-ahead to sell alcohol for 15 hours a day at the new store but has been banned from selling beer and cider by the can.

Licensing chiefs in Wolverhampton also refused to allow it to sell strong beers and ciders.

Sainsbury's had applied to sell booze from 6am until midnight seven days a week but the times were challenged by residents and West Midlands Police, who voiced fears that it could encourage people drinking in the streets.

Once open, the store will be situated just 70 metres from Fernbank Care Centre – a facility that deals with adults who have alcohol and drug problems.

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