The brief was for a new generation of J Sainsbury supermarket, one of the first of a new grade of smaller stores, conceived as a solution to the difficulties of locating a supermarket within an urban context.
The site was identified by the local authority as being suitable for food retail use to complement the town centre development strategy. The location provides convenient access to and from the existing town car park and the local railway station; the project needed to upgrade parking facilities for both.
Sainburys called for a memorable building of architectural merit, an innovative design approach and a positive recognition of the local context and character of this seaside town with a market town atmosphere.
The store required a sales area of 1,600m2, and a total area of 2,500m2 . This needed to include back of house and staff facilities. The detailed technical brief, cost and building programme were all to conform to the client's standard requirements.
The architects were selected from Sainsbury's internal list of approved architects and consultants, on the basis of their experience in developing modern stores on sensitive sites, as demonstrated by their previous work on the award winning Canley superstore.
Landscaping was limited to the existing car park. Larger semi-mature trees were planted in order to mitigate the impact of large runs of parking bays. This also facilitated maintenance and minimized obstruction for disabled users and other pedestrians. Behind the store, a small group of semi-mature trees and ground cover screens the footpath along the perimeter of the service yard from adjoining properties. Appropriate species were selected from a list that was developed in consultation with the local planning authority.
In accordance with the client's policies, there was a substantial consultation process with the district planning authority, local businesses and the local community. A public exhibition of the proposals was held in the carpark over three days. Information and comment leaflets were distributed to local businesses and households to widen the consultation.
The procurement process was Design and Build, using S ainsbury's standard form of contract. The architects were appointed in early 1996, detailed design started in July 1996 and construction in September 1997. The building was completed in February 1998 and the store opened early in March 1998.