Supermarket’s expansion delay

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AN APPLICATION to extend Pocklington’s Sainsbury’s has finally been submitted, following problems with a contaminated section of land.

The supermarket has been hoping to create an extra 5,000 sq metres of selling space on The Balk but had run into difficulties over the former gas works next to the site, which is to be utilised to allow for more space.

Months of research has found that tars and oils from the abandoned site had seeped in to the ground water, as deep as six metres below the surface. Some had even seeped under the existing car park in the supermarket.

Experts will now be brought in to excavate the area to get rid of the contamination, while an old house on the site will be demolished.

A spokesman on behalf of Sainsbury’s said: “The reason for the delay is that scheme has included the old gas works site. It’s no great secret that there is some degree of contamination on it.

“Last year Sainsbury’s was in the process of acquiring that site. We have been in discussion with officers at East Riding Council and the general consensus is that it’s the appropriate strategy, given the type of contamination on the site.”

Sainsbury’s first announced in 2009 that they would look to expand the store, which is one of the smallest of its kind in the country, to give customers a greater choice.

It would include a new entrance lobby, create 30 new parking spaces and up to 40 new full-time and part-time jobs. Following an in-store survey, the found that 95 per cent of the new customers had given their backing to the scheme.

Work to safely move the contaminated sections is expected to take months, and will begin once planning permission is granted.

Sainsbury’s gave a presentation to Pocklington Town Council at their monthly meeting to explain the reasons behind the extension delay.

Councillor Richard Bryon said: “It seems like a lot of investment in the town if they are going to buy a property and do all this excavation. If it does create 40 jobs then I welcome it, because it’s transforming what is basically waste land.”