PLANS for an £80 million supermarket in Worcester have been welcomed by the city's MP.

Robin Walker says news that Waitrose wants to create up to 200 jobs by opening its first Worcester branch on the London Road is "really exciting".

The Conservative told your Worcester News he thinks the upmarket superstore offers good career prospects for those taken on.

"I think it is a really exciting piece of news as it reflects confidence in Worcester’s economic prospects and represents a welcome addition to the competitive landscape in the city," said Mr Walker.

"Just before Christmas, Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire MP) and I wrote to the chief executive of the John Lewis Partnership to say that we had heard rumours that they were considering opening a store in Worcester and that we would very much welcome it if they did.

"Of course, I do not have responsibility for planning matters and I cannot comment on the merits of their application but from the perspective of the jobs that it can bring, the fact that it is an employee owned company which offers excellent career prospects and the regeneration of a major brownfield site, I think their interest is very welcome."

Yesterday (Wednesday) this paper reported Waitrose's draft plans for the former Ebenezer Baylis print firm.

It would feature a range of John Lewis goods, more than 300 car parking spaces and a coffee shop.

But the plans were criticised by local member, Councillor Marc Bayliss.

"The plan is interesting and exciting but I'm very concerned about traffic provision," he said.

"It's already a very congested part of the city."

Waitrose, however, said it had been working on the idea for some time and is confident it has found the right spot.

"We have explored a number of opportunities over the years and believe the plans brought forward by (developer) Opus Land represent the best scheme to deliver a quality food store for the city's shoppers," said Waitrose director of development, Nigel Keen.

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).