CONCERNED shop owners in Barbourne fear their businesses could be at risk if plans to open a Sainsbury’s store in the area go ahead.
The supermarket giant confirmed this week it wanted to turn the In-Toto furniture store on Barbourne Road into a Sainsbury’s Local.
An application has yet to be submitted to Worcester City Council, but if approved a spokeswoman for Sainsbury’s said it could create up to 25 jobs, while there are also plans to build a small car park at the rear of the site.
However, the news of its possible arrival has angered a number of traders who fear they could be forced to close their doors.
Jaswinder Kaur, manager at Costcutter, said: “We have already got the Co-Op nearby, so it is not very good and we may have to close down if this carries on.
“We are struggling at the moment, so it is annoying to hear. We don’t need another one as it will just create more problems.”
Another business owner who did not want to be named added: “It will be convenient for people but it’s not good news for small businesses. It could cause many of us to close down and I am not happy about this at all.”
Kanthasamy Sriprabakaran, manager at Modern Newsagents, said traders had breathed a collective sigh of relief in 2008 when planning chiefs rejected an application to build a Tesco Express on Barbourne Road.
But the 35-year-old, who took over the shop two years ago, said he has now been given another “big headache”.
“The issue we have with Sainsbury’s moving in is that we will completely lose our trade,” he said. “We have a good variety and we do reasonably good business, but once they come in nobody will come to us.
“If people come from Worcester they will purchase things from Tesco (on Foregate Street) and if they are coming from the M5 they will go to Sainsbury’s so this will completely affect us.
“It will definitely affect all the small businesses here – directly or in directly. They already have large stores in Worcester, so I don’t know why they want to move here.”
Andrew Manger, acquisitions manager for Sainsbury’s West Midlands, said: “We can confirm that we are proposing to open a Sainsbury’s Local in Barbourne Road.
“These plans are in the very early stages and the landlord of the building will be shortly submitting a planning application.
“We will be writing to residents and local businesses to inform them of our proposals.”