WAITROSE bosses have spoken of their delight after being given the green light for a £20 million Worcester store - revealing it has been looking for a presence in the city "for many years".
As your Worcester News revealed yesterday, the upmarket chain has secured planning permission to open up a massive store in London Road.
We can reveal how the store had spent years examining different sites across the city and in 2013, discounted four possible alternatives.
It did look seriously at Trinity House, the old Co-op building off Trinity Street which is up for sale by Worcestershire County Council, but rejected it due to it being too close to rivals like Asda.
Cathedral Plaza, which is being earmarked for redevelopment by private investors, was not considered suitable and last year talks over creating a Waitrose off industrial land off Carden Street, near City Walls Road, and by Shrub Hill Railway Station also got nowhere.
Waitrose say London Road's former Ebenezer Bayliss print works is the ideal location, and plans to start work on-site later this year subject to finalising a payout to the county council which could go as high as £257,000 for road improvements like a cycle lane.
The store has also revealed the opening target has been pushed back by around eight weeks, and is now expected very early in 2016.
Waitrose spokesman James Armstrong said: "This is the culmination of not only the hard work we have put into developing the scheme with the council, residents and developers Opus Land, but many years of exploring opportunities to bring Waitrose to Worcester.
"We are naturally delighted the council's planning committee shared our confidence that the plans can make a positive contribution to the city.
"We will revitalise the existing site with a quality food store which will provide greater choice as well as creating 200 new jobs.
"It’s great that Worcester continues to attract investment and we look forward to adding to the retailers already here and becoming part of its future."
The store will feature a range of John Lewis goods, a coffee shop with outside seating and 285 parking spaces.
It will also have fish, cheese, meat and patisserie counters, with 40 jobs created during the construction process on the 40,000 sq ft site.
The Malvern Waitrose is just over 26,000 sq ft.