Sainsbury’s is to open a supermarket in Bordon’s new town centre after Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Company (WBRC) decided to part ways with Morrisons.

The new supermarket, spanning 26,500 square feet, will serve as a cornerstone of the new town centre and create around 100 new jobs.

It is hoped it will open for Christmas 2025 – two years later than initially planned – with construction work to begin imminently.

WBRC says the agreement with Sainsbury’s “will provide the right supermarket offer to the community and residents of Whitehill & Bordon”.

It also represents “a strategic move towards ensuring long-term stability and further growth for the town”, says the company.

WBRC has not revealed why it has split from Morrisons, which had long been lined up as the new town centre’s anchor supermarket tenant.

Computer simulation of new Morrisons supermarket planned for Whitehill & Bordon’s new town centre
It was confirmed in May, 2021, that Morrisons would be opening its first store in Bordon – but the supermarket giant has now been replaced by Sainsbury’s (Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Company)

But last November, Robert Smith, head of major disposals at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, revealed other operators had shown an interest in replacing Morrisons, saying “we have a responsibility to do what is right for the town and its residents”.

Confirming the arrival of Sainsbury’s this week, James Child, project lead at The Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Company, said: “We are incredibly pleased to welcome Sainsbury’s to Whitehill & Bordon. We are confident we have the right operator to help us build for the future.

“It’s great to see the town centre taking shape and reaching the point where we will be able to formally appoint a lead construction contractor for the supermarket phase.

“People will soon be able to see real progress on site as the building starts coming out of the ground for a Christmas 2025 opening.”

Patrick Dunne, Sainsbury’s property director, said the supermarket giant was “excited” to be opening its first-ever Bordon store.

He added: “As well as putting our commitment to providing good food for all of us on the doorstep of the town, our investment will create around 100 new jobs for local people as we create a new store team that will serve the community for years to come.”

Bordon Town Council layout
The vision for Bordon town centre – with Sainsbury’s now lined up to take the large space at the top middle (WBRC)

The news has garnered widespread support from key stakeholders.

Robert Smith, head of major disposals at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), said: “This is great news and re-enforces the confidence I have in the next phase of delivering the town centre project. They are an operator that aligns with our vision for this development and will serve the residents and community of Whitehill & Bordon exceptionally well.“

Councillor Andy Tree, Whitehill and Bordon Community Party leader and district councillor for Whitehill, Bordon and Linford, added: “Against the backdrop of this difficult economic climate, I’m pleased to see that an established and one of market-leading supermarket operators in Sainsbury’s is coming to the town, increasing choice for customers.

“Its strong business credentials and proposition will be a real asset and an excellent fit with our growing community.”

The new Bordon town centre has already seen the arrival of the Whitehill & Bordon Leisure Centre and The Shed indoor market in recent years.

And last May, planning permission was granted to start construction on the next phase – including the new Morrisons supermarket and its multi-storey car park, 175 new apartments, a high street shopping parade with seven new shops, and the Mess Hall which will contain a whole host of restaurants and shops alongside a new dedicated theatre space, an art gallery, and a local history museum.

An artist’s impression of Whitehill & Bordon’s new town centre
An artist’s impression of Whitehill & Bordon’s new food, drink and entertainment venue, The Mess Hall (Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Company)

Overall, this phase of construction is expected to create around 850 new jobs.

There has though been frustration locally after residents were told early last year the new supermarket and car park would be open by Christmas 2023.

Delays to Bordon’s new Health Hub, also in the new town centre, have caused additional upset.

But in January, a planning application was finally submitted for a five-storey building with health services, retail units and café, with 85 apartments on the floors above.

The hub – developed in partnership with NHS Hampshire and the district council – will accommodate the services provided by the Chase Community Hospital.

Health Hub Visual
An image of the proposed health hub development next to The Shed in Bordon town centre (WBRC)