PLANS for a new supermarket in the heart of Swindon’s Front Garden have gone on show – and building work could commence as early as this summer.
The proposals for a 3.5-hectare district centre site, including a medium-sized food store will be situated in what will be Middle Wichel, on fields off Peglars Way and Foxham Way.
Planning permission for the site includes a convenience store of up to 2,500 square metres net floor space and a car park with 250 spaces, as well as community-use units.
The supermarket, understood to be a Waitrose, is set to create 160 jobs for the area and is the latest high-end retailer to commit to the town after John Lewis.
At a meeting on Tuesday, Swindon Council planning committee elected to switch the position of the supermarket to the other side of the canal, so that it now borders Mill Lane, and plans went on show to the public on Thursday and Friday.
Paul Clark, of Kilo Properties, said: “The revised design code for stage one was approved by committee on Tuesday and we had exhibitions in East Wichel and Wroughton at the end of the week. They were well attended, with about 40 in Wichelstowe and 30 coming to the Wroughton event.
“We are in advanced discussions with an operator of the food store and should be able to formally announce this in a few weeks.
“We hope that there will be full approval by the end of May and then we would look to start construction in July.
“The response has been positive and the feeling, in East Wichel at least, was that they need a shop and they are looking forward to this. It is a big name store we are in discussions with.
“The food store will be phase one, along with the council upgrading Mill Lane and Foxham Way, while phase two will be the rest of the district centre. This will be a mix of smaller retail and community use units such as a doctor’s surgery.
“Around 160 jobs will be created by the food store and apart from the senior management team these will all be jobs for local people. The retailer recruits through the job centre.”
Claire Cornelius, transport development manager for the council, said Foxham Way would become a 20mph zone and there would be a new roundabout on the junction with Mill Lane.
She said: “The district centre will be surrounded by development, and with pedestrians and cyclists in the area, we have to change driver behaviour – so we have dropped the speed limit to 20mph on Foxham Way.
“We will change the crossroads into a roundabout and we will also be fully reconstructing the road surface on Mill Lane.”
Brian Boston, 66, a retired highways engineer of Wroughton, said: “I’m impressed with the plans and it looks as though they have thought it through properly.
“There are concerns about the use of Wharf Road and Mill Lane in the longer term but they have suggested the preferred route in would be via junction 15 and Pipers Way, which might please the residents of Wroughton.”