SAINBSURY’S has thrown a question mark over its controversial proposals to build a new supermarket on the site of a York DIY store.

The supermarket giant has revealed it is reviewing its plans across a number of supermarket sites, including one for the B&Q superstore and warehouse site in Hull Road, York.

However, it says it will not be withdrawing its planning application to City of York Council for the store, which has been opposed by a petition signed by 1,800 people.

“We look forward to it being considered in the coming months,” said a spokesman.

“Once we are in a position to do so, we will update people on our future plans.”

A B&Q spokesperson said: “Nothing has changed. The planning process is still on track.”

National media have reported that Sainsbury's is set to abandon plans for about 40 new stores in the face of changing shopping habits, such as customers switching to discount retailers such as Aldi and Lidl and shopping online.

The Press revealed in October last year how Sainsbury’s was planning to move into the B&Q site, creating 300 new jobs, while the DIY giant would look for an alternative site in the same area and keep its other York store at Clifton Moor.

Earlier this year, the proposals prompted a campaign calling for stricter controls around supermarket developments, which was launched by York businessman Graham Kennedy, owner of the adjacent Hull Road Service Station.

His petition called for the council "not to approve any further planning permissions for supermarkets in York without a public debate" stating: "We believe that York has now too many large supermarkets and any further expansion will threaten the very existence and sustainability of independent local retailers.”

Mr Kennedy said on Friday that he could not believe the proposed new store would be a viable operation for Sainsbury, bearing in mind that it already had two big stores in York.

He also claimed the planning application was running into considerable difficulties over the traffic problems that a supermarket would cause in the area.