Sainsbury’s downsizes city centre store plan

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Construction work on Great Homer Street Retail Park © Google Street View

Construction work on Great Homer Street Retail Park © Google Street View

Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has scaled back its planned store on Great Homer Street in Liverpool city centre meaning a proposed health centre has now become uncertain.

Developer St Mowden started the project, named Project Jennifer, to revamp North Liverpool in 2004, with the aim of transforming the once lively Great Homer Street back into a vibrant shopping and leisure destination.

The developer was set to build an array of shops including Boots, Next, Specsavers and Sainsbury’s. The original plan contained retail space of 60,000 sq ft but this will now be cut to 40,000 sq ft.

Space has also been reserved for a new health centre but this project now looks doubtful without NHS funding needed.  St Modwen projects director Paul Batho told the Liverpool Echo: “We’re still hoping funding can be found for a new health centre.”

David Mills, head of properties at Sainsbury’s, told JMU Journalism: “The proposals were first announced in 2010, since then we have seen changes in how people shop, that’s why we have reduced in size”.

Paul Batho, projects director at St Mowden, said: “Revising the plans to ensure that the Sainsbury’s store is in keeping with what customers want is essential.”

A new planning application is due to come before Liverpool City Council in December. The new application will keep the planned Sainsbury’s petrol station and café. Original plans had outlined how the store to be built on stilts, above a car park, but now it will be based across the ground floor.

Mills said that job vacancies will unfortunately be affected, saying: “The store will still remain a full range supermarket, but the number of jobs created at the site will be 220, compared with original plans for 250.”

Batho said that the total job numbers for the whole project remain at 1,000, comprising 750 permanent jobs and 250 construction jobs. Work on the new Sainsbury’s store is set to start in summer 2016, and the whole scheme should open in May 2017.

About Beth Hughes, JMU Journalism