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Waitrose announces plans for first Worcester store
11:10am Wednesday 22nd January 2014 in News
UP to 200 jobs could be created as supermarket giant Waitrose announces plans for a £20 million development in Worcester.
The upmarket chain has unveiled plans for a store at the former Ebenezer Baylis print firm, in London Road.
It would feature a range of John Lewis goods, more than 300 car parking spaces and a coffee shop.
Waitrose, which is working on the plans with developer Opus Land, says it is a "long-held ambition" to bring the superstore to Worcester.
But opponents say the development - measuring 40,000 sq ft - would "snarl up" an already busy road system.
"It's already a very congested part of the city," said local member, Councillor Marc Bayliss.
"The plan is interesting and exciting but I'm very concerned about traffic provision."
Waitrose, though, says it has been working on the scheme for a number of years and is confident it has the right spot.
"This is an exciting opportunity to achieve a long-held ambition to bring Waitrose to Worcester," said Waitrose director of development Nigel Keen.
"We have explored a number of opportunities over the years and believe the plans brought forward by Opus Land represent the best scheme to deliver a quality food store for the city’s shoppers.
"It’s great that Worcester continues to attract investment and we hope that we can be part of its future.”
Waitrose says it plans to replace the industrial units which formed the print works with a smaller building.
It would recruit the 200 members of staff "as locally as possible", promising to give opportunities to the long-term unemployed.
The new store would, if approved, include meat, fish, cheese and patisserie counters.
It would also differ from most other Waitrose supermarkets by stocking the range of John Lewis goods.
The 40,000 sq ft store would be almost twice the size of Malvern's Waitrose which measures 25,600 sq ft.
“We are delighted to be involved in bringing the Waitrose brand to Worcester and to have found the perfect site for their new shop," said Richard Smith, managing director of Opus Land.
"It has long been an ambition of Waitrose to open in Worcester and those living in Worcester will be equally delighted to have a Waitrose presence in the city.”
Newsletters are set to be sent out to those living nearby later this week, while a public exhibition of the plans will be held in the Guildhall on High Street, Worcester on Friday, January 31 (11am-4pm) and Saturday, February 1 (10am-1pm).
A planning application is expected to be submitted in the spring with the store opening, should permission be granted, late 2015.
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