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Sainsbury’s postpones Exeter delivery centre

Sainsbury’s postpones Exeter delivery centre

Sainsbury's has decided to postpone the opening of a new distribution centre in Exeter which would have been used to supply the supermarket's chains across the south-west of the UK.

The complex would have helped to create some 450 jobs, however Sainsbury's has now carried out a review and decided that it would not improve the supply chain massively, noting that there was "no immediate requirement for a depot".

The organisation was originally granted planning permission back in 2011, and the decision taken by Sainsbury's has left East Devon District Council leader Paul Diviani "disappointed".

Vince Prior, head of property investment for the supermarket, told the Exeter Express and Echo: "Since receiving planning approval in September 2011 we have invested significant sums in preparatory works to deliver a fully serviced and remediated site.

"However, we are continually reviewing our logistics' network to enable us to drive improved service to stores, support our business plans, increase efficiencies and deliver savings that will allow us to further invest in our customer offer.

"Although this news is disappointing, our research shows that there could be future demand for a depot in this location. We are therefore currently working with East Devon District Council to review our options and can update the local community once the review is complete."

The site, which would have measured up at around 500,00 sq ft close to Exeter Airport, would have been nearly ten-times bigger than the company's Alphington supermarket and would have supplied goods to 35 stores in the South West.

It was hoped that the distribution centre was going to be the first phase in the Intermodal Freight Facility, which would be known as the Exeter Gateway, as part of the Exeter & East Devon Growth Point.

Mr Diviani said that he "understood" the reassessment and appreciates that if businesses did not review their operations constantly then they would "stagnate".

However, he believes that there is hope for the future, pointing out that Exeter is the fastest-growing city in the UK and has plenty to offer the retail sector.

The decision to postpone the plans might come as a relief to some local residents, as in 2011 when the planning permission was granted it was announced that a Construction and Environmental Management Plan would be put in place to address concerns over noise and traffic levels.


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