SAINSBURY'S continued involvement in the planned Coyte Farm retail park has been questioned after the company stopped work on another new store in Wadebridge.
The supermarket giant said the decision to down tools at its site at Higher Trenant came after a nationwide "strategic review" of its priorities.
Bulldozers and workmen had moved in only six weeks earlier.
The news of Sainsbury's review has led some to question whether the planned supermarket at £110 million Coyte Farm retail park will now go ahead. Coyte Farm spokesman, Simon Hoare, said Sainsbury's remained "under contract" and the news out of Wadebridge had no bearing on the future of the site.
Meanwhile a spokesman for Sainsbury's told the Cornish Guardian: "We are still in commercially confidential discussions with the developer so cannot comment further at this time."
Chairman of St Austell Bay Chamber of Commerce, David Halton, said members of the town's business community hoped to learn more at a scheduled meeting with developers in June.
"We don't know what their plans are at the moment," he said. "The developers are asking to meet the chamber, St Austell BID, and the St Austell Bay Economic Forum. I think they're talking about putting in an application in early July.
"Our members will certainly be asking questions, but Coyte rarely comes up in conversation nowadays – I'm sure that will change, but until then its business as usual for us," he added.
Original plans for the Coyte Farm retail park at the site just outside St Austell featured a Sainsbury's superstore, Marks & Spencer store, petrol station, pub and care home.
They were narrowly thrown out by one vote in February after dividing Cornwall Council's strategic planning committee, but developers are expected to present a revised plan to the council later in the year.
In a statement explaining the Wadebridge move Sainsbury's said: "We recently announced a small reduction in the number of new stores to be built in 2014 and have, with regret, decided not to progress plans," adding that the decision was subject to a review "in the coming months".
Steve Hurst, spokesman for the newly-formed St Austell Business Network and a vocal opponent of Coyte Farm refused to be drawn on speculation surrounding Sainsbury's plans, but said the news from Wadebridge came as no surprise.
"All supermarkets are looking at going back to smaller units in towns for more convenient shopping – that's the same for Tesco and Asda. Our message is 'shops yes, edge of town yes, out of town no'."
Sainsbury's opened 13 supermarkets and 91 convenience stores last year.
The company recently said it would continue to open new convenience stores in 2014 at the rate of two a week.