SAINSBURY'S bosses insist they are going ahead with plans to extend their store in Coopers Mill, in a response to rumours the controversial plans have been shelved.
The supermarket giant has issued a further statement denying they have shelved extension plans, stating that it is still "committed to the project".
A spokesman for the firm has told the News Telegraph it could be at least eight months before they are ready to announce when the work, given planning permission in November 2011, is due to start.
He said: "Sainsbury's would like to express that they are still committed to the project and will be in a position to make a full announcement regarding time-scales etc early in the New Year."
The News Telegraph has received anonymous calls from staff members who claim they have been told the extension is not going ahead and, in an initial statement released last month, Sainsbury's said it was "reviewing" its options. A spokesman said: "Plans to improve the Ashbourne store on King Edward Street are still being progressed and we are currently reviewing our options.
"Local residents will be kept fully updated on the agreed programme of works."
As part of the plan to extend the store, Sainsbury's had to buy a cluster of buildings on land next to Cooper's Mill which included an independent café, a country supplies store, bus depot and a district council-owned public toilet and car park.
New homes have been found for the Countrywide store and the Trent Barton bus operation at Waterside Park, but the former café, run by Ashbourne man Richard Glover, has not been resurrected.
Should the project go ahead, Sainsbury's has permission to more than double the size of its store and add a café for its shoppers, as well as introduce the facility of online shopping for the Ashbourne area.