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Future of new Sainsbury's store remains uncertain

By Andrew Turton | Great Barr | News | Published:

Supermarket giant Sainsbury's remains tight-lipped over a six-year saga for a planned new store – with concerns rising that the land is becoming an eyesore.

An artist impression of the Sainsbury's store in Hamstead

Mystery surrounds the future of the major project coming in days after proposals for Sainsbury's merger with Asda were unveiled.

The grocery chain has planned to redevelop old industrial land on Old Walsall Road in Hamstead, near Great Barr, for a store creating 200 jobs.

But its future was uncertain after Sainsbury's revealed in 2015 that the plans were under review due to 'significant change' in the grocery market.

Gurdial Singh Atwal, who was up for re-election for his ward seat on Birmingham City Council yesterday, says people have grown increasingly concerned by the lack of action.

"They [Sainsbury's] promised they would open and help the local community by creating jobs but unfortunately they have been unable to do that," he said.

"We would like it to be built. But if not we would like there to be some sort of development on there.

"We do not want to see it become an eyesore and be left boarded up.

"We hope after the coming local election we can look again at what is happening with it. At the moment it is a mystery."

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The old GKN factory being torn down in 2014 to make way for the Sainsbury's supermarket in Great Barr

A Sainsbury's spokeswoman said: "The project is still under review and no decision has been taken at this stage."

Plans first surfaced for the supermarket back in 2012 with a consultation held for residents.

Approval was granted in 2013 by Birmingham City Council and the authority says planning permission has been subsequently extended past the normal three-year time limit.

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The site was once occupied by car parts manufacturer GKN Driveline. The former factory closed in 2009.

Bosses at the time said it would cost £1.5 million to keep the factory up to date.

The old GKN factory being torn down in 2014 to make way for the Sainsbury's supermarket in Great Barr

The supermarket plans faced 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.

The 30,665 sq ft supermarket would create around 200 new full and part time jobs.

It would also include a first-floor customer café and restaurant and customer toilets, an in-store bakery, cash machines and around 300 car parking spaces, with motorcycle and bicycle parking.

A website - www.sainsburys-hamstead.co.uk - showcasing the proposals when they first revealed is no longer online.

Andrew Turton

By Andrew Turton
Digital Journalist

Digital journalist based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton. Interested in breaking news and social media. Get in touch on Twitter @aturton_star or andrew.turton@expressandstar.co.uk

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