Work on new Sainsbury's store to start in summer
By Prue_Reid | Friday, February 22, 2013, 13:45
WORK on building Portishead's new £15 million supermarket could start this summer – as long as a family of newts have settled into their own home.
It had been hoped to start work on the new store at Serbert Way at the end of last year but Sainsbury's was forced to put its plans on hold after it was discovered great crested newts were living on the site.
Construction work on the site cannot start until the newts, which are a protected species under European Law, are captured and removed.
The amphibians needed to be captured before the first frosts of the winter, a deadline which Sainsbury's missed, and have now gone into hibernation.
They will now not be able to be moved until 60 days after the last frosts of this year - likely to be either March or April.
Once the frosts have passed, work can then start on relocating the newts.
Only when they are happy in their new homes can Sainsbury's start work on appointing contractors to carry out the multi million pound building project.
It is hoped that work on the supermarket will eventually get underway this summer, although a firm date for construction starting has not been decided.
The store is expected to open in the summer of 2014.
A spokesperson from Sainsbury's said: "To ensure the safe relocation of the newts on site we will need at least 60 days in the correct season - so after frosts have finished - before we can start work.
"This should start in spring so we should be able to confirm a start date once it has taken place. We are very grateful to local people who have continued to support a new Sainsbury's in Portishead and we look forward to becoming part of the community here."
The new 30,000sq ft store will create 270 jobs, 55 of which will be full time.
Portishead already has a Co-operative supermarket along with Waitrose, Iceland and Lidl supermarkets in Portishead.
A Tesco Express store is due to open in the former Royal Oak pub at West Hill this Spring.