When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Co-op to expand store as Sainsbury plan falls through
12:50pm Monday 14th May 2012 in News
THE Co-operative has announced a major expansion of its Chipping Norton shop now that a planned Sainsbury’s superstore has fallen through.
The Mid Counties Co-operative had put the scheme on hold, saying a new Sainsbury’s would cause a “serious threat” to businesses in the town.
But the controversial Sainsbury’s superstore was refused planning permission earlier this year by West Oxfordshire District Council.
Co-op bosses have announced they will now go ahead with the expansion of their town centre store, a scheme which first won permission in 2010.
A new planning application was submitted to the district council this week to make minor alterations to the scheme.
Chief executive Ben Reid said: “This will be the biggest single investment in an existing store that we will have ever made.
“It is appropriate that it should be in Chipping Norton which has been at the heart of the society for so long. This indicates our long-term commitment to the town and whilst we do have to wait for formal planning consent we are all eager to get started.”
The company would not say how much cash was being spent on the store, saying the information was “commercially sensitive”.
But the plans will see the High Street Co-operative extended by almost 17,500 sq ft and car parking spaces increased from 84 to 151.
The company plans to continue trading through the building work.
Sainsbury’s lost planning permission to build a 30,000 sq ft store on the site of the former Parker Knoll furniture factory in London Road in March.
District council members rejected the application over concerns that it could cause the town centre to “die”.
Steve Piltz, part of campaign group Stop Chippy’s Out Of Town Supermarket, said: “Scoots welcomes the Co-operative’s expansion plans. It will bring more retail viability to the town.”
The group was against the edge-of-town Sainsbury’s development because they said it would have had a “dramatic impact” on town centre retailers.
Chipping Norton mayor Chris Butterworth said: “We are very pleased that the Co-op is going ahead with its plans.
“We were concerned that Sainsbury’s would have removed a lot of footfall from the town centre, which like any other market town is struggling at the moment.”