Sainsbury’s set to expand at Whitechapel with 500 new homes and new superstore

Sainsbury's 'Whitechgapel Square' development if approved

Sainsbury's 'Whitechgapel Square' development if approved - Credit: Sainsbury's

Nearly 600 new homes are planned by the Sainsbury supermarket chain as part of the Whitechapel regeneration in London’s East End after Crossrail opens in 2018.

How 'Whitechapel Square' might look

How 'Whitechapel Square' might look - Credit: Sainsbury's

The company is planning to redevelop its present supermarket site in Cambridge Heath Road to create a new “Whitechapel Square” with a “scaled down” tower block and 557 new homes, which has been lodged with Tower Hamlets Council.

“We submitted amendments which includes reducing the size of the tower by five storeys,” Sainsbury’s property communications team head David Mills said. “This was a decision informed by comments from Historic England and residents.

“The location of a landmark tower building was identified in the Whitechapel Masterplan, and our application developed over 12 months with the community responds to this in a sympathetic way to the local context.”

The company conducted “overshadowing” impact surveys of the nearby historic Trinity Green almshouses last March, June and September which showed “a negligible impact and in line with planning guidelines”, the company says, with the almshouse courtyard continuing to receive “good levels of sunlight”.

Sainsbury's 'Whitechgapel Square' development if approved

Sainsbury's 'Whitechgapel Square' development if approved - Credit: Sainsbury's

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People living in the almshouses were concerned about the new tower block planned just 100 yards from their homes, revealed in the East London Advertiser last week.

But Mr Mills added: “We have negotiated with planning and heritage officers to make sure our proposals complement, rather than harm, the environment and its historic buildings. Local planning officers are satisfied with the measures we’ve taken.”

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The development would move the present multi-storey car park underneath the store, making space for public areas and creating a pedestrian and cycle link between Cambridge Heath Road and Brady Street.

The 557 new homes built above the store, including 89 “genuinely affordable” social rent homes, adds to Whitechape’s target of 3,500 by 2025. The scheme would also create 400 new construction and retail jobs and local employment and training.

But further concerns by almshouses residents over an influx of parking is governed by local planning policy which requires any regeneration of the site to be “car free”, excluding disabled spaces, Mr Mills points out.

“I appreciate that residents of Trinity Green have concerns,” he adds. “But I assure them our proposals fully comply with the council’s requirement.”

Details of the application, planning ref: PA/15/837, can be found on the Tower Hamlets council website.

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