SAINSBURY’S says it is still interested in building a superstore off the Ledbury bypass despite having its controversial plans rejected this week.

Herefordshire Council’s planning committee rejected Sainsbury’s application for a 30,000sq ft store in the New Mills Industrial Estate at a packed meeting on Wednesday.

Twelve councillors voted to throw the application out while six voted in favour.

However, the supermarket giant is not ready to discard its plans for the existing Galebreaker site just yet.

Thomas Issitt, a spokesman for Sainsbury’s PR contractor, Gough Bailey and Wright, said: “I don’t think we see this as over yet. We are still assessing our options at the moment and working out the next route.”

He added: “We are still interested in that site.”

Michael Adenmosun, Sainsbury’s regional development executive, said: “While we are very disappointed at the council’s decision, we are confident that a foodstore would still bring great benefits to the town.”

Annette Crowe, of the Ledbury Opposes Out of Town Superstores Group (LOTS), said: “Obviously, further action is up to them. I’m not sure how any further phases will go, but they have a lot of serious objections to overcome, mainly the size and location of the site.

“I’ve no idea if they will appeal. We will cross each bridge as we come to it.

“Now is the time for healing rifts and for Ledbury people to work together, to get what Ledbury really needs.”

Colin Marschall, of Ledbury Supports Sainsbury’s (LESS), said: “We are treading water until we find out what happens next. I don’t think it’s over. Hopefully we’ll find out Sainsbury’s next steps soon. We think the store is viable and the majority of people want it.”