Budgens takeover delay rumours rejected in Woodbridge

Budgens in the Turban Centre, Woodbridge

Budgens in the Turban Centre, Woodbridge - Credit: Archant

Renewed speculation about a supermarket takeover deal reaching an impasse over parking has been officially discredited in a Suffolk town.

In August, it was announced that supermarket chain Sainsbury’s was interested in opening a convenience store in place of the Nisa shop in Woodbridge’s Turban Centre.

But a deal has still yet to be done – giving rise to rumours about what might be holding things up.

There had been whispers that a takeover was delayed due to discussions over parking allocation behind the store in Hamlin Road.

In October, one trader emphasised the “enormous benefit” of Sainsbury’s arriving in the town, but said some of his customers had suggested the acquisition was being held up due to the parking issue.

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Despite Sainsbury’s then reinforcing its interest, rumours have still yet to go away, prompting a district councillor to make a public rejection.

Deputy leader and head of resources at Suffolk Coastal, Geoff Holdcroft said no approach had been made from Sainsbury’s, or from the site’s current owner, about parking behind the store.

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Mr Holdcroft, who is also a Woodbridge town councillor, said Sainsbury’s had repeated its intention following local uncertainty over a perceived lack of progress.

“People are concerned about what has been going on in recent months,” he told the town council and gathered members of the public.

“There has been much speculation, including rumours that a deal was blocked because of the parking issue.

“Sainsbury’s has confirmed that neither it, nor the present owner, made an approach about the car park – and confirmed that it is happy with the present arrangement.

“As far as I’m concerned, a deal is a deal when it is signed.”

The store began operating under the Nisa retail brand after changing suppliers at the beginning of last year.

Before the switch, it had traded under the Budgens banner – but was then set to undergo a second overhaul in the space of 12 months when Sainsbury’s confirmed its interest.

The company has previously said a deal was not yet in place, and that it would therefore not speculate on when a move might happen, but confirmed it remained “very interested” in moving into the 8,000 sq ft store, owned by Bens Ltd.

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