Work on Sunderland’s new Aldi store to start before end of year

Coun Stephen O'Brien at the Pennywell site
Coun Stephen O'Brien at the Pennywell site

Plans to build a new Aldi on the former Dewhirst factory site in Pennywell will start by the end of the year, the supermarket chain has confirmed.

The site – which stood derelict for years – is set for a makeover with planning permission already granted for a KFC drive-thru and Marstons pub and restaurant.

More than a year after Sunderland City Council (SCC) planners rubber stamped the Aldi plans – which are set to create 35 jobs –  the chain will start building works.

An Aldi spokeswoman said: “We will begin construction of our new Sunderland store at the Pennywell site this Autumn and plan to open the store towards the middle of next year.

“This will enable local people to shop and save closer to home.”

Fast food giant KFC previously confirmed their new store would create around 40 jobs in the area with 44 car parking spaces serving the eatery.

Now, the chain has set a 2019 opening date for the Pennywell site and is currently working with developers on the project.

A spokesman for the chain said: “We’re biased, but we reckon there’s nothing better than a fresh, shiny, new KFC restaurant and we’re working closely with the developers of the new Sunderland drive-thru to make sure it looks as good as possible when it opens.

“It’s not been a sixty-minute makeover, but we’re expecting to be open for business in spring next year.”

In recent weeks, Liberal Democrat councillor for Grindon, Hastings Hill and Thorney Close, Stephen O’Brien, raised concerns about the lack of visible progress on the site.

Reacting to the update, he said: “It’s brilliant that something is going to happen.

“It’s really pleasing that Aldi and KFC are getting their act together and there is going to be something there by next year.”

SCC’s cabinet member for housing and regeneration, Coun Stuart Porthouse, also welcomed the updates.

“In recent years, the council has approved three planning applications relating to the former Dewhirst site. KFC, Aldi and Marstons Pubs and Taverns,” he said.

“We welcome and look forward to the regeneration of the Dewhirst site as it has stood empty for too long.”

Marston’s Inns and Taverns received planning permission in 2016 to build on the former clothing factory site.

It is expected that the development will have space for 60 covers in the dining area, as well as an outdoor children’s play area.

The company were not available when contacted for comment.

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service