Whittlesey mayor’s personal plea to Sainsbury’s chairman: “We backed you to the hilt now let right be done”

Mayor of Whittlesey David Mason

Mayor of Whittlesey David Mason - Credit: Archant

The mayor of Whittlesey has made a personal – and direct plea- to the chairman of Sainsbury’s to build a store in the town.

Councillor David Mason told him: “Without wishing to be drawn into the financial arguments, I feel that it is my duty to point out the overwhelming support given to your company by the majority of the 18,000 citizens of Whittlesey.”

Cllr Mason told David Tyler that the town has “supported your company to the hilt” in the face of competing claims by Tesco.

The letter has also gone to directors of Sainsbury’s and Cllr Mason is hoping that a delegation to the supermarket head office might happen.

“Local retailers who form the membership of the Whittlesey Business Forum have publicly stated their support for your company believing that its presence will encourage local people to stay in the town rather than travel elsewhere for their weekly shop,” said Cllr Mason.

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The mayor’s initiative comes after Sainsbury’s blamed a combination of the lengthy legal challenge to secure planning consent and changes in supermarket retailing for their decision to delay a decision.

Last year Sainsbury’s pulled out of 15 new stores and paid out compensation totalling £92 million where permissions had been given.

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However the company has retained a smaller, rolling programme of openings, although many of these have concentrated on inner city convenience stores.

Sainsbury’s latest financial figures are due out this week and are likely to reflect the impact of discounters such as Lidl and Aldi whose market share has shown remarkable growth in recent times.

Sainsbury’s insist they have not ruled out building the store which is linked to provision of a country park and a new commercial park.

In their statement to the Friends of Whittlesey Country Park last week they said they were undertaking a “number of technical challenges”.

Pointing out the changed landscape for supermarkets the company said they were “continuing to review the plans with the aim to bring a new store to Whittlesey”.

Cllr Mason told the Sainsbury’s chairman: “My plea to you is to include this project in your 2015/16 building programme and without being too emotional to let right be done.”

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