SAINSBURY’S has been accused of “betraying the trust” of residents, after admitting work will not start on its Dorridge store until at least 2014.
The supermarket giant bought the village’s Forest Court shopping precinct five years ago and was granted planning permission to build a store on the site in November 2011.
Over 15 months later and Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King has said that development of the now derelict premises - in the village where he grew up - will not begin this year.
The retailer had been forced to release the statement, after residents demanded answers about the lack of news about the scheme, which will create around 200 jobs.
Lynda Hatcher, who started the campaign by posting photos of the boarded-up Forest Court on Sainsbury’s Facebook page, said residents were incensed to be left with an “eyesore” in the middle of the village.
“There have been over 600 contributions on Facebook, which shows the strength of feeling about this,” said the 48-year-old.
“There are no economic or moral reasons why they shouldn’t have started work already.
“One of Sainsbury’s five values, on their website, is ‘making a positive difference to our community’. How do they think that boarding up the middle of Justin King’s hometown fits in with that?”
Sainsbury’s has maintained that it only won final consent for the development in August last year and argued the economy had worsened during the planning process.
“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.
“I can assure you that we keep the situation under regular review and will ensure that regular updates are available to the local community as the situation develops.”
While the company has insisted it remains committed to the scheme, it still won’t be drawn on a start date.
* The Facebook campaign is at http://ow.ly/1SdVKn.