Email states plans for Sainsbury’s are shelved

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CONFUSION still surrounds the proposed Sainsbury’s development in Whitby amid rumours it has been called off.

The Whitby Gazette has seen a mystery email purporting to be from Sainsbury’s customer manager Kenny McDonald in which he tells a local resident who has been campaigning in support of the supermarket giant coming to town that the deal is off.

In the message sent on Friday afternoon

he says: “Thanks for your email.

“I’m sorry that there are rumours about cancelling the building of our store in Whitby.

“I can understand your disappointment, especially as you’re a dedicated campaigner.

“Unfortunately, we’ve taken the decision not to go ahead with development of this store.

“We’re grateful to you for taking the time to contact us as your feedback helps us to improve our services.

“We look forward to seeing you in store again soon.”

But, the next day letters dropped through the letterboxes of hundreds of

local residents throughout Whitby, dated 21 July, assuring residents that “Sainsbury’s is 100% committed to Whitby”.

The letter gives an update on the progress of the supermarket development which is earmarked for the industrial estate next to Homebase.

It says the planning process took over a year, pushing back the construction of the new store, and once the lease that the current occupiers of the site have expires in January then building works can begin.

The option of including a petrol station within the development is also still being explored.

The letter tells residents: “The proposals are still at an early stage but we will keep you up to date with our progress.

“We will also provide an update on the store as soon as we can, but in the meantime, please rest assured that Sainsbury’s hasn’t forgotten about Whitby.”

When the Whitby Gazette contacted Local dialogue, the firm which handles PR for Sainsbury’s, it apologised for any confusion caused.

A spokesperson added there was nothing untoward and it had been a case of “crossed wires” and that it was looking into how Mr McDonald got the information.