Work is to start on the new Sainsbury’s store in Bognor Regis.
The retailer’s contractor, Longcross Construction, will begin the groundworks today (Monday, April 16) to provide the foundations for the 55,000sq ft outlet.
It is expected this work will be completed at the end of May ready for the erection of the store’s steel framework to begin.
Sainsbury’s project manager Gary Mudge said: “We are extremely excited about becoming part of the local community once again here in Bognor.
“We are confident the development will provide a catalyst for the wider regeneration of the town.
“We hope the hundreds of new jobs for the local community will result in increased spending in Bognor and, in turn, contribute to the future vitality of the town.”
The start of work was welcomed by the chairman and president of the town’s chamber of commerce.
Nick Stuart-Nicolson said: “This is really good news for the town and will provide a boost for its economy.
“It makes sense for a site which, at one time, was the biggest employer in the town. I hope the store provides a fitting tribute to all the work that was carried on there by Lec.”
The work has also signalled the first of two £250,000 donations by Sainsbury’s to improve Bognor town centre.
Sainsbury’s has stated it hopes the store will be open by Christmas; it was in January 1990 its previous store in Queensway closed.
The company’s return on the former Lec Refrigeration factory site on the A29 Shripney Road will create about 400 full and part-time jobs. These will be targeted, through Sainsbury’s commitment to Arun District Council’s developer and partner charter, to ensure Bognor area residents have the best chance of working there.
The buildings began to disappear last summer before the land was cleaned of contamination from industrial use and a former gas plant. This was completed for Longcross Construction to move in last week. Project manager Mark Whorlow said: “We will make every effort to minimise any potential disruption while the works are underway.”