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Supermarket to open despite row over rival
1:00pm Monday 18th March 2013 in Business
SUPERMARKET Sainsbury’s will open its doors in Bicester this summer after it threatened to pull out over a row about a new Tesco on the outskirts of the town.
Bosses had threatened to stop work to fit out the store – part of the £70m town centre redevelopment – when the out-of-town Tesco got council approval.
But now the supermarket chain has confirmed it will open and recruitment for the 300 jobs that will be created will start soon.
Cinema operator Vue is also expected to start looking to fill jobs at its seven-screen cinema shortly.
The move comes weeks after Cherwell District Council’s planning committee approved an extension – an internal mezzanine – for the Sainsbury’s store.
This will boost the supermarket from 4,842 sqm retail floor space to 6,292 sqm compared to 5,151 sqm for Tesco, approved in January.
Sainsbury’s development executive Tim Watkins said: “We have been working with Cherwell District Council for over seven years on the Bicester redevelopment so we are delighted to be in a position to confirm our intention to open this summer.
“We look forward to making a positive contribution in sustaining a vibrant and healthy town centre and being an active part of the community for many years to come.”
Barry Wood, leader of Cherwell District Council, a partner in the redevelopment, said: “This is good news. It’s confirmation that Bicester is becoming a centre of opportunity and a thriving economic hub. We can now look forward to the new development opening later this year.”
The news has also been welcomed by fellow traders.
Tony Douglas, of Bicester Town Centre Group, was delighted Sainsbury’s was going ahead and said it would have been a “total disaster” if it had pulled out.