SUPERMARKET bosses have agreed a new deal that will see it take over the running of a car park in Droitwich.

Waitrose will extend the lease on the building until 2034 and work is already underway to make significant improvements to the store. As part of the agreement, the supermarket will rent the High Street Short Stay Car Park from Wychavon and take control of its management. 

Waitrose shoppers will be able to park for a period of time for free with a minimum spend, while the car park will remain available for other users to pay to park. Other council run car parks in the area will continue to be managed by Wychavon with charges remaining the same.

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras will be installed by Waitrose to monitor the site, which will free up parking management resources for Wychavon to use elsewhere. 

Blue badge holders will continue to have access to free car parking through a registration scheme. Businesses that need to access their premises through the car park will still be able to do as they do now, without having to register or apply for an exemption.

Customers will be told in advance when the changes will be introduced later this year, including when and how to register a blue badge. The car park will continue to be operated as normal until then. 

Waitrose first opened in Droitwich in July 2005 as part of a groundbreaking deal that saw Wychavon become the first council in the country to build a supermarket. The store is currently undergoing a major refurbishment which includes new features such as sushi and dry aged beef counters, more self service checkouts and new products and ranges, including a selection of John Lewis products.

Jayne Pickering, deputy chief executive and director of resources for Wychavon District Council, said: “Waitrose is a crucial part of Droitwich Spa town centre’s economy. So, I am delighted they have committed themselves to the town well into the next decade, while the new parking arrangements will maintain the current level of short stay parking spaces in the town and deliver a return for the council taxpayer.”

Greg Trumper, Waitrose Droitwich branch manager, added: “The new lease and investment being delivered reinforces our long-term commitment to the town. The changes we are making this summer, as well as the agreement for the car park, ensures our customers can look forward to an even better, more convenient shopping experience with us in the future.”