It cannot give my colleague Peter Hough any pleasure to know that he was right to welcome Sainsbury' development plans for Crosby. This weeks Champion reveals that there is now a very real danger that Crosby will missed out on the crucial investment altogether
Sainsbury's have admitted they are looking into selling their properties in Crosby Village.
The Champion can exclusively reveal that handing over their retail outlets is one of the options being discussed by senior management.
The retail giant announced this week that they would not be appealing the decision to refuse a planning application for a £50million new store on Moor Lane.
Sainsbury's officials confirmed to The Champion they are in lengthy discussions over whether to leave the current store as it is, submit new plans for the area or the option many residents fear, which is sell up and move out.
Senior management also added that there is “no timetable” for a further announcement.
Peter Hough, who is Sefton Council's regeneration spokesperson, labelled the news as “devastating.”
The Victoria ward Liberal Democrat councillor was contacted by Sainsbury's management this week who said they would not be appealing the decision to refuse last year's store plans.
But he mentioned that while in a discussion with the multi-million pound company, he received the impression that they were no longer interested.
Cllr Hough said: “I got the strong impression Crosby has been shoved onto the back-burner and that they now have other fish to fry.
"Since their offer was turned down, they have been looking at several hundred other sites in the North West with a view to investing their money.
“Never say never, but this is devastating news for our town centre.
”I said at the time when I and my colleagues supported the investment, that I didn't want to gamble away Crosby's future. Others may have done just that.“
"We should have grabbed their offer - and embraced this once in a generation opportunity.
“It was the only game in town. There are, and never were, any other investors waiting to step in.”
Kevin Macmillan, Sainsbury's development executive, added: “We have always said that we would keep people informed and although we have still not decided what do to regarding Crosby, we have decided not to appeal the refused planning application.
"All options are still being considered and these range from selling the properties, doing nothing to drawing up new plans. There is no timetable for any further announcement."
Conservative Blundellsands councillor Peter Papworth said that it was expected they would not appeal and is still ”hopeful“ the company would come back with a new offer.