Work is continuing to create the new Sainsburys supermarket at Meols Cop retail park in Southport. Photo by Andrew Brown Stand Up For Southport

The new Sainsbury’s superstore in Southport is keen to add solar panels onto its roof, to combat “steep increases in energy costs”. 

The firm is also keen to support Sefton Council’s ongoing ambition for the borough to become net-zero carbon by 2030. 

Sainsbury’s is getting closer towards opening its  huge 44,710 sq ft supermarket at Meols Cop retail park, on the former Homebase site, this February. It will include an Argos outlet.

The new facility will create 150 new jobs and follows the recent openings of Hobbycraft and Pure Gym in revitalising the retail park. 

Also arriving will be 14 ultra-rapid electric vehicle charging bays in the 388-space car park, after the firm changed its original plan of creating a new petrol filling station. 

Sainsbury’s has now submitted a planning application for the installation of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on the roof of the store. 

A planning application by Savills to Sefton Council says: “The straightforward application seeks to deliver infrastructure which will; generate renewable energy to achieve Sefton Council’s climate change objectives and meet the social, environmental and economic aspects of sustainable development. 

“The impacts of the proposal are overwhelmingly positive.

“In July 2019, Sefton Council declared a climate emergency. In doing so, the council has committed to reducing carbon emissions and resolves to go further than the UK1200 Agreement and to act in line with the scientific consensus that we must reduce emissions to net zero by 2030.

“Following steep increases in energy costs, the installation of PV solar panels will lead to long-term economic benefits, reducing energy costs for our client. 

“Further, the solar panels will be oriented to optimise exposure to sunlight and generate electricity for on-site use, contributing to the sustainable operation of the development. 

An artist's impression of the proposed new Sainsbury's supermarket at Meols Cop retail park in Southport

An artist’s impression of the proposed new Sainsbury’s supermarket at Meols Cop retail park in Southport

“The installation of the solar panels will also reduce the building’s carbon footprint  throughout the development’s life cycle and aligns with Sefton Council’s commitment to sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.” 

Under planning conditions set out by Sefton Council, the existing Sainsbury’s store at Great George’s Place, off Lord Street in Southport town centre, must remain for at least five years. 

The firm says it is “bringing its unbeatable combination of quality fresh food, competitive prices, innovative products and enthusiastic colleagues” to Meols Cop retail park in Southport. 

The retailer has recently taken possession of the site that will house its next supermarket to open and is in the process of fitting it out.

Sainsbury’s says it is passionate about providing ‘good food for all of us’ and the store will feature a wide range of tasty products, including an extensive selection of fresh food, fruit and veg, food-to-go, cupboard staples and freshly baked goods. 

It will also feature a carefully curated selection of non-food, including Sainsbury’s Habitat and Tu Clothing ranges, as well as a new Argos store that will enable customers to shop from thousands of products in technology, toys, gaming and electricals while picking up their groceries.

The new superstore will combine Sainsbury’s latest innovations in technology to bring together an array of sustainable features to make it more energy-efficient. 

Like the rest of the retailer’s estate, it will rely on electricity that is 100% renewable and use 100% LED lighting throughout. It will also feature doors on chilled cabinets, keeping cold air in and reducing their energy demands, and 14 Ultra-rapid electric charging bays in the 388-space car park.

Patrick Dunne, Sainsbury’s Property Director, said: 

“We’re delighted to be onsite and making progress on our new, state-of-the-art supermarket as we begin the process of transforming the building into a destination that will help more customers in Southport discover the joy of food with Sainsbury’s.”

“Our new supermarket will build on the success and popularity of our existing stores in the town, which will continue to serve the community when it opens in February. I’m really looking forward to welcoming customers in Meols Cop to experience the latest of everything Sainsbury’s has to offer – until then, I’d like to thank everyone in the local community for their support and patience while we complete the remaining work on the store.”

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