Tuesday, 10.50am: Supermarket giant Waitrose has unveiled plans to create a new multi-million pound store in Peterborough creating scores of jobs.
The retailer plans to quit its current store in Peterborough’s Queensgate shopping centre and move just a short distance to bigger premises on the former Royal Mail site in Mayor’s Walk, in Bourges Boulevard.
The land is currently used as a temporary car park but Waitrose, which is part of the John Lewis Group, plans to build a 29,000 sq ft store that will provide employment for about 180 people.
The new store, which will have a 240-space car park, will be larger than the retailer’s store in Queensgate, which is 15,700 sq ft.
The 140 staff currently working at Waitrose in Queensgate will all transfer to the new store where a further 40 jobs are expected to be created.
It is planned for the store to open in time for Christmas next year.
Its opening will tie in with the completion of Peterborough City Council’s plans to enhance Bourges Boulevard for pedestrians, with two crossing points, road narrowing and the planting of trees and installation of public art along the central reservation.
The aim is to ensure the area, known as the Railway Quarter, is more accessible to the city centre and the planned £100 million leisure-led development of the North Westgate area.
Waitrose director of development Nigel Keen said: “We are firmly committed to building on 30 years of serving the city.
“However our existing store does not enable us to provide Peterborough shoppers with our latest offer.
“With our existing lease in Queensgate due to expire in 2016, we believe the Mayor’s Walk site is an excellent opportunity to bring new investment which will deliver a quality new food store and a large, dedicated car park.
“Importantly, the proposal allows us to remain as close to the city centre as possible rather than seeking alternative solutions elsewhere so we can continue to provide a strong, long-term retail anchor for Peterborough.”
Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson said: “I think that it’s good news that such a prestigious store will be relocating to complement the regeneration of the area around the railway station and the hospital site and Midland Road. I particularly welcome the news that there will be more jobs created for local people.
“At long last Peterborough is achieving its potential and is at the forefront of emerging from a long and difficult period of recession.”
Subject to comments received during the consultation, the project team aims to submit a planning application to the council by the end of the year. If successful, Waitrose aims to start work on site in spring 2014 and open by Christmas 2014.
The Mayor’s Walk site has an existing planning consent for a slightly larger supermarket as part of a mixed-use scheme, which would have also included offices. But after talks with the council, the new landowner Peveril Securities Ltd and Waitrose have been working on plans to use the site for a supermarket only.
Thousands of newsletters are being distributed this week informing local people about the plans, asking them for their feedback.
It will also invite them to a public exhibition that will take place from 11am to 4pm on December 5 at the Great Northern Hotel on Station Approach.
Representatives from Waitrose and the project team will be on hand to answer questions.
Council officers will also be at the exhibition to show their plans for changes to Bourges Boulevard between Crescent Bridge and Bright Street and also the public realm improvements in Long Causeway.