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Superstore fails to attract operator

By stephanie daley, Assistant Editor Friday 13th June 2014
Foodstore to open opposite Morrisons

THE company planning a superstore opposite Morrisons in Barnsley says Sainsbury's proposal to take over B and Q at Stairfoot has 'put the cat amongst the pigeons' in its efforts to find an operator.

Approval for the 70,000 sq ft store bordering New Street, Wood Street, Heelis Street and Westway was given the go ahead in September 2012.

Applicant Peter Macfarlane, of Spectrum Investment Management, has so far failed to attract an operator.

However, Mr Macfarlane told the Chronicle he is still batting away for interest from the big supermarket chains and is confident the scheme will be delivered.

He said: "The big supermarket chains are the most likely occupiers for sites like this.

"Sainsbury's have made an application to go out of town and that has put the cat amongst the pigeons for everybody.

"Sainsbury's are probably not going to have a conversation with me with the application going in for B and Q.

"It's not easy. The problem is a lot of people think because the housing market is moving and all ready to go the commercial market should be too but it is not as easy as that. It takes a long time, particularly with commercial development.

"We are still out there talking to the kind of occupier we would expect and in our experience of doing this we know what normally works and we will go to people and say 'you are in these places and not here' and it all takes time to get it on their agenda and talk about what they might do."

He said the development of the neighbouring City Reach apartment block starting back up will help in finding an occupier for the foodstore as it will make the site more attractive - as opposed to having an abandoned building site nearby.

Peter added: "We (Spectrum) are a massive stakeholder in this and have put a lot of money in to the site and would like to get our investment back and deliver what we set out to do.

"We are totally committed and still confident. We will keep working on it."