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Fury as Sainsbury delays plans to build Dorridge supermarket

Council leader Ken Meeson has hit out at Sainsbury’s after it said construction on its proposed Forest Court site in Dorridge ‘will not begin in the near future’

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Council leader Ken Meeson has hit out at Sainsbury after it said construction on its proposed Forest Court site in Dorridge will not begin in the near future.

In a letter to concerned resident Nick Harrison, Sainsbury boss Justin King, who grew up in Dorridge, blamed the current economic climate and delays in getting the store, smaller than originally intended, through planning, for the delays.

"The continuing uncertainty means that I'm sorry to have to tell you that our store in Dorridge has not been included in our development plans for the year ahead," said Mr King.

However Councillor Meeson (Con, Dorridge/Hockley Heath) rounded on the announcement: "The news that Sainsbury intends to defer any redevelopment until at least 2014 is totally unacceptable and a real kick in the teeth for the local community who are left with a scruffy boarded set of buildings dominating the village centre," he said.

"Great play was made by Sainsbury of the fact that their chief executive Justin King comes from Dorridge and wanted to see a quality development that would enhance the area."

"This latest news shows that Sainsbury has little respect for the local community or its prospective customers and its lame excuse about economic conditions contrasts with the positive position taken by Waitrose with its store at Knowle and the Asda store now under construction in Shirley," he added.

However a chastened Sainsbury has now assured Coun Meeson that they remain committed to proceeding with the store, although they would not be drawn on a date.

They have also agreed to look at what can be done to improve the boarded up Forest Court site, which might include demolition and site clearance.

The controversial Sainsbury store was finally approved by Solihull Council in November 2011 following a long campaign by objectors.

Ben Littman, regional development manager for Sainsbury, said the supermarket would now regularly review its plans and was working with the highway authority and the doctors surgery.

He added: "We will keep the community informed as the situation develops and I would also like to assure residents that the security of Forest Court will be maintained in the meantime."

Meanwhile the petrol station on Grange Road, now owned by Sainsbury, is expected to open this summer.

Worried residents can contact Sainsburys direct by calling either Amy Kershaw or Richard Harris on Freephone 0800 975 5299 with any questions.

 

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