Supermarket giant pulls out of shopping revamp

Supermarket giant pulls out of shopping revamp

Supermarket giant pulls out of shopping revamp

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

SAINSBURY’S has confirmed it has pulled out of the much-delayed £50m Charter redevelopment for Abingdon.

The supermarket giant, which had not previously been identified as the chain expected to anchor the redevelopment, said it could not reach an agreement with Charter operator Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) on a viable scheme.

Vale of White Horse District council leases the shopping precinct to Scottish Widows and last night it was unclear what length of delay Sainsbury’s withdrawal would cause.

Sainsbury’s spokeswoman Janet Heald said: “We were negotiating a deal with (developer) New River and Scottish Widows but couldn’t reach agreement on a viable scheme, so we made the decision not to progress any further.

“We informed Matt Prosser, strategic director of Vale of White Horse District Council, who had been very supportive of our plans.”

Scottish Widows has been pledging to build a supermarket, medical centre, library and possibly a hotel in the Charter since 2009.

Scottish Widows spokeswoman Kahrene Lawrie said: “It’s had an impact in terms of timings but we are now exploring a range of other options and hope to report further in due course.”

Related links

But, she said she could not provide any more detail of how the project was progressing or when a planning application might be submitted.

She refused to say if any discussions had started with another supermarket chain.

Liberal Democrat group leader for the Vale, Richard Webber, said he hoped the scheme could still go ahead.

He said: “This is very disappointing for the whole town. I sincerely hope that they manage to find another partner.”

Mr Webber previously called on the Vale and the firms involved not to keep residents in the dark about the future of the Charter.

He said: “I would like to think the Vale is regularly kept up-to-date with difficulties, in case there is something they could do to help.”

Scottish Widows has a 150-year lease from Vale of White Horse District Council and has already spent £4.5m revamping existing shops.

Vale spokesman Gavin Walton said: “We continue to work positively with our partners to bring forward a solution for the Charter area.”

When SWIP unveiled the plan in 2009, senior investment manager Peter Webb said: “We appreciate that Abingdon residents have been given promises by previous owners, which has resulted in disap-pointed shoppers.”

Town Council leader Sandy Lovatt said in November last year that he was expecting SWIP to apply for planning permission in January.

Comments (11)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:12am Wed 2 Apr 14

horsham says...

Marvellous news, I'm really pleased this isn't going ahead.

Scottish Widows and VWHDC...the perfect partners for failure!
Marvellous news, I'm really pleased this isn't going ahead. Scottish Widows and VWHDC...the perfect partners for failure! horsham
  • Score: -3

11:37am Wed 2 Apr 14

the wizard says...

Shame that the Vale can't come to some agreement with Scottish Widdows and take the lease back, and then actually do something to take matters forward on a grander scale. lets face it, down town Abingdon is not as inviting as it should be to attract people, business and investors.

A far more comprehensive development is needed, one with some ambition and vision. the re routing of the main roads and a development that does the town proud. Perhaps the Vale should consider leaving Stert St , County Hall, Market Square and The Square and just redeveloping the rest, High St included. Incorporate decent parking and a whole choice of shops, doctors surgeries, library, bus stands etc all under cover , and well accessible to the disabled etc. It would probably take a phased construction over four to five years, but the end product would put Abingdon into the 21st century and out from behind the shadow of Oxford, Didcot and Witney in terms of development and usable facilities to take it forward.
Shame that the Vale can't come to some agreement with Scottish Widdows and take the lease back, and then actually do something to take matters forward on a grander scale. lets face it, down town Abingdon is not as inviting as it should be to attract people, business and investors. A far more comprehensive development is needed, one with some ambition and vision. the re routing of the main roads and a development that does the town proud. Perhaps the Vale should consider leaving Stert St , County Hall, Market Square and The Square and just redeveloping the rest, High St included. Incorporate decent parking and a whole choice of shops, doctors surgeries, library, bus stands etc all under cover , and well accessible to the disabled etc. It would probably take a phased construction over four to five years, but the end product would put Abingdon into the 21st century and out from behind the shadow of Oxford, Didcot and Witney in terms of development and usable facilities to take it forward. the wizard
  • Score: 2

2:01pm Wed 2 Apr 14

EMBOX2 says...

The revamp of the precinct has been a disaster, but one that was very predictable. The only shops that survive these days are ones selling that which you cannot buy online - hairdressers, cafes and the like.

Just putting a new facade on an ugly 1960s building won't fix anything. Its no wonder no bigger chains want to invest in a new store there - what's the point?

It is a shame Sainsburys have pulled out, I can't see any other store willing to build in the middle of town and fund the massive redevelopment.
The revamp of the precinct has been a disaster, but one that was very predictable. The only shops that survive these days are ones selling that which you cannot buy online - hairdressers, cafes and the like. Just putting a new facade on an ugly 1960s building won't fix anything. Its no wonder no bigger chains want to invest in a new store there - what's the point? It is a shame Sainsburys have pulled out, I can't see any other store willing to build in the middle of town and fund the massive redevelopment. EMBOX2
  • Score: 1

8:57am Thu 3 Apr 14

downsview says...

EMBOX2 wrote:
The revamp of the precinct has been a disaster, but one that was very predictable. The only shops that survive these days are ones selling that which you cannot buy online - hairdressers, cafes and the like.

Just putting a new facade on an ugly 1960s building won't fix anything. Its no wonder no bigger chains want to invest in a new store there - what's the point?

It is a shame Sainsburys have pulled out, I can't see any other store willing to build in the middle of town and fund the massive redevelopment.
Its not the buildings that are stopping retailers moving into Bury St precinct its there decision that Abingdon isn't a strong enough draw. Amazing that a town of nearly 40K population doesn't have a NEXT for eg. Nicola Blackwood could get on the case of NEXT's ceo Lord Wolfson well-known Tory peer & say you need to be brave in my town! Get NEXT & others will follow.
[quote][p][bold]EMBOX2[/bold] wrote: The revamp of the precinct has been a disaster, but one that was very predictable. The only shops that survive these days are ones selling that which you cannot buy online - hairdressers, cafes and the like. Just putting a new facade on an ugly 1960s building won't fix anything. Its no wonder no bigger chains want to invest in a new store there - what's the point? It is a shame Sainsburys have pulled out, I can't see any other store willing to build in the middle of town and fund the massive redevelopment.[/p][/quote]Its not the buildings that are stopping retailers moving into Bury St precinct its there decision that Abingdon isn't a strong enough draw. Amazing that a town of nearly 40K population doesn't have a NEXT for eg. Nicola Blackwood could get on the case of NEXT's ceo Lord Wolfson well-known Tory peer & say you need to be brave in my town! Get NEXT & others will follow. downsview
  • Score: 1

9:46am Thu 3 Apr 14

Man on the Green says...

This is the price the Town continues to pay for having failed to bite the bullet of traffic reorganisation. Nimby councillors chose to override the recommendations of the experts, and blocked plans to close off St Helen's Wharf, re-open the Drayton slip road, widen the bridge over the Ock Stream coming in from the Drayton Road, and redesign the junction with Ock Street. Oxfordshire County Council suppressed a highly critical environmental report that predicted that unless more radical measures were taken, pollution levels in the Town would continue to rise, remaining at levels that are dangerous to the health of residents, as indeed has proved to be the case. Nitrous oxide levels are greatly over safe levels, and 'particulate matter' in the air is at excessively high levels, even before Saharan sand blew in! Ms Blackwood has proved as ineffective as her predecessor at grasping the nettle of traffic planning and the p***poor leadership of the County Council has condemned Abingdon to years of stagnation. It's hardly surprising that Sainsbury's should have taken a long hard look at the situation in Abingdon and concluded that they would be wasting their money investing in a scheme that requires people to want to come into the Town, which they won't do so long as they fear gridlock at all hours of the day.
This is the price the Town continues to pay for having failed to bite the bullet of traffic reorganisation. Nimby councillors chose to override the recommendations of the experts, and blocked plans to close off St Helen's Wharf, re-open the Drayton slip road, widen the bridge over the Ock Stream coming in from the Drayton Road, and redesign the junction with Ock Street. Oxfordshire County Council suppressed a highly critical environmental report that predicted that unless more radical measures were taken, pollution levels in the Town would continue to rise, remaining at levels that are dangerous to the health of residents, as indeed has proved to be the case. Nitrous oxide levels are greatly over safe levels, and 'particulate matter' in the air is at excessively high levels, even before Saharan sand blew in! Ms Blackwood has proved as ineffective as her predecessor at grasping the nettle of traffic planning and the p***poor leadership of the County Council has condemned Abingdon to years of stagnation. It's hardly surprising that Sainsbury's should have taken a long hard look at the situation in Abingdon and concluded that they would be wasting their money investing in a scheme that requires people to want to come into the Town, which they won't do so long as they fear gridlock at all hours of the day. Man on the Green
  • Score: 1

11:48am Thu 3 Apr 14

TonyH says...

Not sure why Sainsburys - or anyone - would be interested. Abingdon does have food shops, a Tesco near the A34, a Waitrose a short walk from the Town Centre, and 2 Co-Ops in it. Until the traffic situation is improved, any redevelopment is unlikely to succeed, and about the only way to do that is a new river crossing. Why not redevelop the Vale Council offices, and shift the nearby Ab'don Town Council office (they do next to nothing anyway) to a small room in the Museum. The Vale council could go wholly to Wallingford, (partly there already), or out by the Barracks where space. That'd make a nice space for proper shops and parking, leave Bury St & Charter much as it is, save disruption. As for Mr Webber's grand plan for an amphitheatre on Nag's Head island - I'd think Abingdon needs one of those about as much as a hole in the ground, though I suppose it would at least take a bit of overflow Thames for part of the year?
Not sure why Sainsburys - or anyone - would be interested. Abingdon does have food shops, a Tesco near the A34, a Waitrose a short walk from the Town Centre, and 2 Co-Ops in it. Until the traffic situation is improved, any redevelopment is unlikely to succeed, and about the only way to do that is a new river crossing. Why not redevelop the Vale Council offices, and shift the nearby Ab'don Town Council office (they do next to nothing anyway) to a small room in the Museum. The Vale council could go wholly to Wallingford, (partly there already), or out by the Barracks where space. That'd make a nice space for proper shops and parking, leave Bury St & Charter much as it is, save disruption. As for Mr Webber's grand plan for an amphitheatre on Nag's Head island - I'd think Abingdon needs one of those about as much as a hole in the ground, though I suppose it would at least take a bit of overflow Thames for part of the year? TonyH
  • Score: 2

1:07pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Abingdon First says...

.
. Abingdon First
  • Score: 0

1:10pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Abingdon First says...

Man on the Green, Tony H and any others above....do you fancy writing a piece with your views on Abingdon First Guest writer page? Please see http://www.abingdon-
first.btck.co.uk/Gue
stWriter
Thanks
Man on the Green, Tony H and any others above....do you fancy writing a piece with your views on Abingdon First Guest writer page? Please see http://www.abingdon- first.btck.co.uk/Gue stWriter Thanks Abingdon First
  • Score: 0

3:27pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Pseudocream says...

Tony
What's wrong with an 'amphibious theatre ' ? I think an 'amphibious' theatre would go down well in Abingdon - well down stream !
Tony What's wrong with an 'amphibious theatre ' ? I think an 'amphibious' theatre would go down well in Abingdon - well down stream ! Pseudocream
  • Score: 0

3:30pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Pseudocream says...

Re Abingdon First Guest page

Comrades
Please can we have an article on the benefits of 'Visionary Dictatorship' See comment 21 at http://www.abingdonb
log.co.uk/?p=11141#c
omments

We need to learn more how this could benefit Abingdon on Thames .

Ps Is Comrades PC under the proposed regime?
Re Abingdon First Guest page Comrades Please can we have an article on the benefits of 'Visionary Dictatorship' See comment 21 at http://www.abingdonb log.co.uk/?p=11141#c omments We need to learn more how this could benefit Abingdon on Thames . Ps Is Comrades PC under the proposed regime? Pseudocream
  • Score: 0

6:05pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Abingdon First says...

Pseudocream wrote:
Re Abingdon First Guest page

Comrades
Please can we have an article on the benefits of 'Visionary Dictatorship' See comment 21 at http://www.abingdonb

log.co.uk/?p=11141#c

omments

We need to learn more how this could benefit Abingdon on Thames .

Ps Is Comrades PC under the proposed regime?
Pseudocream, Sorry that one is not down to us. Any Abingdon First comment is clearly marked as being sent by "Abingdon First". You would need to direct your statement/questions to the relevant poster on that particular blog?
[quote][p][bold]Pseudocream[/bold] wrote: Re Abingdon First Guest page Comrades Please can we have an article on the benefits of 'Visionary Dictatorship' See comment 21 at http://www.abingdonb log.co.uk/?p=11141#c omments We need to learn more how this could benefit Abingdon on Thames . Ps Is Comrades PC under the proposed regime?[/p][/quote]Pseudocream, Sorry that one is not down to us. Any Abingdon First comment is clearly marked as being sent by "Abingdon First". You would need to direct your statement/questions to the relevant poster on that particular blog? Abingdon First
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree