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Great Barr Sainsbury's store thrown into doubt

Birmingham | News | Published:

The future of a new Sainsbury's supermarket being built in Great Barr has been thrown into doubt, it was revealed today.

The supermarket giant has launched a review into its building programme due to changes in the food market.

The multi-million pound store was due to be built in Old Walsall Road, Hamstead, on an old factory site after plans were approved two years ago.

Work to clear the site, which was home to the former GKN Driveline car parts factory, has already been carried out.

It had been expected that the store would create 200 full and part-time positions and 420 construction jobs.

But now the company says changes to the food market have forced them to review their proposals for the site.

They claim more people are using smaller convenience stores and there has been an increase in the numbers of online shoppers.

It is unclear at this stage when the review will draw to a close.

Sainsbury's spokesman Angharad Lynch said: "The grocery market has been undergoing significant change over the last year.

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"For example customers are making more frequent trips, basket sizes are smaller and there has also been an increase in online and convenience shopping.

"To ensure we are responding to these changes we are carrying out a comprehensive review of our development programme including our plans at Hamstead. That review is ongoing at the moment."

The former GKN Driveline factory closed in 2009. Bosses at the time said it would cost £1.5 million in order to keep the factory up to date.

Plans for the store were then tabled with Birmingham City Council and they faced strong opposition from some councillors, who said the authority would be forfeiting good industrial land.

Sainsbury's successfully purchased the land for the store in January 2014, paving the way for the demolition work last summer. As well as the new two-storey 30,665 sq ft supermarket, the plans include a car park with 302 spaces, junction adjustments, a new roundabout and six industrial buildings.

The new supermarket was also due to include a first-floor customer cafe, restaurant and customer toilets, a bakery, cash machines and around 300 parking spaces.

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