When news happens, text KENEWS and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Sainsbury's signs deal for Kendal store
Sainsbury’s has signed an agreement with developers to open a major superstore in Kendal, it was revealed this week.
It means it is set to go head to head with rivals Tesco in a battle to build a store in the town.
Tesco was revealed this week as the company which wants to open a supermarket on land at Canal Head, where an £80m redevelopment project is planned.
But it is almost certain the town can support only one more superstore – and which chain wins the fight is now dependent on the decision of a Government planning inspector.
He is to rule in the next few weeks on whether developers Morbaine can create a scheme incorporating a Sainsbury’s at the Kendal Rugby Club site at Shap Road.
If he grants approval, it would effectively scupper any attempt to include a supermarket as part of the Canal Head development.
The proposed Sainsbury’s would be bigger than the nearby Morrisons and around the same size as Kendal’s Asda at Burton Road. However, it is understood the Tesco plan would be for a 90,000 sq ft store, incorporating the former Goodacre Carpets site, which would dwarf them all.
Both supermarkets admit they are keen to move into Kendal, despite the long-established presence of Morrison’s, Asda and the town centre Booths store.
Jo Hawley, regional development Executive for Sainsbury's, said: “Although too early for specific details, we would look to deliver a store with a full range of food and non-food goods.
“We firmly believe the rugby club site is the only deliverable site for a new food store in Kendal at the current time.”
The public inquiry was called after developer Morbaine lodged an appeal against its rejected plans for a supermarket on the rugby club’s site.
Councillors claimed a rival supermarket project involving a Tesco store in the Canal Head area was better for Kendal.
At the inquiry, which ended on Monday, it was revealed Sainsbury’s had signed a formal agreement with Morbaine to operate a 55,000 sq ft supermarket on the rugby ground if planning permission was granted by the inspector.
Meanwhile, Tesco said it was awaiting the outcome ‘with great interest’. If the inspector rules against Morbaine’s bid, it could clear the way for a Tesco as part of the Canal Head regeneration project.
Morbaine director Alex Brodie admitted his company’s appeal strategy had been to ‘attack’ the Canal Head proposal.
He said: “This wasn’t about justifying our Shap Road site because we have already done that. Our appeal focused on challenging the decision by councillors to oppose our plan because they preferred the Canal Head development.
“We believe Canal Head is totally unsuitable for a supermarket development, particularly because of the tight nature of the site and access concerns.”
Mr Brodie said if the inspector ruled in their favour, a supermarket would be be trading at the rugby site ‘in two years’.
“It would be sooner, but the rugby club would have to be given time to move to its new ground at Strawberry Fields, Oxenholme,” he said.
Tesco spokesman Doug Wilson confirmed his company’s interest in the Canal Head development, which is being driven by Gilbert Gilkes and Gordon boss Charles Crewdson.
“We have been keen to establish a Tesco presence in Kendal for some time now and have been in talks with a developer,” said Mr Wilson.
“We await the inquiry outcome with great interest.”
It is unclear what would happen to the Canal Head redevelopment if a Tesco was not built there, but it would almost certainly have to be scaled down.