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

Exclusive by Andrew Brown

Building work on a huge new Sainsbury’s supermarket in Southport can finally now begin thanks to a High Court ruling. 

The investment will support over 200 jobs during construction of the 50,300 sq ft flagship store at Meols Cop retail park.

It will create up to 200 jobs including 30 full time positions and 130 part time roles in the store and meet the shopping needs of the community on the site of the former Homebase store and two adjacent units. 

Planning conditions which have been set by Sefton Council ensure that Sainsbury’s must keep its existing store on Great George’s Place, off Lord Street, in Southport town centre, open for at least five years following the opening of its new store at Meols Cop retail park. 

The High Court has ruled in favour of the development following a Judicial Review. 

A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: “We are pleased that a High Court ruling has found in favour of planning permission being granted for the creation of a Sainsbury’s superstore in Meols Cop, Southport.

“This decision to find in favour of the council’s initial judgement is warmly welcomed and reiterates the extensive discussions, analysis and due diligence conducted by Sefton’s planning team throughout this process.

 “Members of the local authority’s Planning Committee resolved in 2020 to grant planning permission for the proposed Sainsbury’s store on Meols Cop Retail Park, subject to the application being referred to the Secretary of State.  

 “This permission remains wholly subject to the provision that from the date of any new store at Meols Cop opening, Sainsbury’s must continue to trade from the Lord Street store for a minimum of five years.  

“Should Lord Street close prior to that five year period, it would then mean there can be no further trading from the Meols Cop store. 

 “This precaution is covered by a legal agreement as we continue to help safeguard the continued health and regeneration of Southport Town Centre.

“Work to construct the Meols Cop Store can now begin.”

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

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

All works will be managed by the developer UBS. 

Sainsbury’s had hoped to carry out its store fit out in late 2021 with the store opening by Summer 2022, but this has been delayed by the Judicial Review being called.   

It is not yet known when the new store will now open.
Sainsbury’s has been approached for comment. 

In 2016 Sainsbury’s was given the green light to build a larger store on the site of the former Homebase store and two adjacent empty retail units which would have created 400 new jobs. 

Their revised smaller plans, which were granted by Sefton Council’s Planning Committee in August 2020 before being sent to the Secretary of State for approval, will see a smaller supermarket than originally planned, with the creation of 160 new jobs. 

The new 50,300 sq ft supermarket has been designed to bring the best possible benefits to Southport and will offer a wide range of Sainsbury’s own-brand and branded food ranges, alongside its clothing and general merchandise offer.

An in-store bakery will offer customers a range of freshly baked goods. 

The new store will also play an active role in the local community through its food donation, volunteering and charity programmes.

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