Whittlesey told to expect new supermarket
- Credit: Barratt Homes
A new supermarket - one of the secondary discount chains – could be heading to Whittlesey.
The plans were outlined at tonight’s meeting of Whittlesey Town Council, and the 15,000 square feet store will occupy two acres off Eastrea Road where Sainsbury's intended to build a superstore.
Talks with the discount chain are at an advanced stage but were not completed in time for their name to be revealed at the meeting.
It is not a foregone conclusion since preparation of the site and its delivery depend on Fenland Council granting permission for more than 200 homes on the rest of the site.
David Wilson Homes, through their trading arm Barratt Homes, are preparing a planning application for housing on the site which originally was granted consent for a business park, superstore and country park.
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Those plans were aborted when Sainsbury's pulled out at the 11th hour, leading to a High Court breach of contract war with promoter Bruce Smith.
Although an appeal is pending, Sainsbury’s continue to make clear that irrespective of any outcome of that appeal, they have abandoned any prospects of ever opening a store in Whittlesey.
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The most likely, and widely tipped, contender to move to Whittlesey remains Aldi, although that remains speculative until terms and final contracts are agreed.
It will also depend on the outcome of a planning application by David Wilson Homes that is likely to be put into Fenland Council within the next two months.
Their representative, Alan Davies, delivered a 15-minute presentation to the town council tonight, adding that viability issues surround the site would likely prevent them providing any affordable or social housing in their plans.
He said his company faced the “burden” of transport infrastructure and preparation of the site for a supermarket as reasons for offering little opportunity for section 106 obligations for social or affordable housing,
“It is not viable to deliver a supermarket and infrastructure and social housing,” he said.
His company wants to build 207 homes, including 74 four-bedroom homes,
Mr Davies said there was “no market” for a much larger supermarket.
But he promised that the scheme now being brought forward was “deliverable” and pre application talks had been held with Fenland planning officers.
Mr Davies said he hoped construction could begin in 2022.
It was “too early” to reveal the operator for the supermarket but he said talks were at an advanced stage and he hoped they could address the town council at some stage.