Further delays on new supermarket decision

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A DECISION on a new supermarket expected to create up to 500 jobs has been delayed after “store wars” broke out on Wearside.

 As reported in the Echo, development firm Ashall Property has lodged an objection to plans to build a new Sainsbury’s store in Riverside Road, off Wessington Way.

Ashall has drawn up detailed proposals to create up to 1,000 jobs in a retail development – including a supermarket – in the city centre’s Holmeside Triangle.

The firm claims, however, that that scheme could fail if the Riverside Road foodstore development goes ahead.

But, as reported in the Echo, the Sainsbury’s team claims delays granting permission for its proposals are costing the city’s economy £1million a month.

Developers want to build the store on the Jennings car dealership site in Riverside Road.

The row has been dubbed “store wars” by some in the city and councillors have agreed to put off a decision on the Sainsbury’s proposals for a month to allow further consideration.

Colin Thomasson, director at Ashall, told a planning committee meeting that the unnamed food store operator was in the “premier league” of supermarkets and could be on site next year if plans were approved.

He said: “If members are going to see an improvement in the city, Holmeside is a key area.

“It is disgraceful that it has gone undeveloped so long when it is one of the first things people see when they come into the city.”

Jeff Wilson, a planning consultant representing Sainsbury’s, said his team’s proposals were also very important to people in the city.

He said: “We are absolutely committed to this site (in Southwick) and we have clear community support. I think it is quite clear that the store will bring a number of benefits.

“We have a history of delivering developments in Sunderland. We have got permission to extend our store in Silksworth and are on site doing that now.

“It’s more than just stores – it’s a commitment to investing in our colleagues in store.”

Castle ward councillor Tom Foster said people living near the proposed food store would be devastated by the delays.

“There’s nothing in this area, unless you count Morrisons. People in the area where it is are crying out for it and were completely overjoyed that they were getting this store.

“We are now going to defer on the evidence of a store that is not there.”

Councillors agreed to meet at a later date to look at the application again.

Twitter: @janethejourno