MULTI-MILLION-POUND plans to build a Waitrose supermarket at the planned Wichelstowe District Centre have been submitted to Swindon Council.
The 3.5-hectare district centre site, in what will be Middle Wichel, is at fields off Peglars Way and Foxham Way.
There is outline permission for the site, which includes a convenience store of up to 2,500sqm net floor space and a car park with 250 spaces.
Swindon Council has entered into an agreement, subject to planning consent and a sale price being established, to sell the site to Waitrose, which would then develop the canal-front district centre, with its shop as the anchor store.
Now Kilo Properties has submitted a reserved matters planning application for the development of a Waitrose foodstore and associated works in accordance with design codes for the district centre, which control the appearance of the building, among other aspects.
This is the first phase of the district centre’s development, and further applications required for other work.
Under the deal, Swindon Council would use the cash on infrastructure, including associated ecological clearance works, which will help the supermarket be built quickly, unlock immediate housing development for the first 200 homes in Middle Wichel and bring forward the district centre.
Terry King, of the Front Garden Action Group, said: “I have been down to look at the application last week and it’s good. It’s something that’s needed.
“Waitrose has got nothing in Swindon at the moment and it adds an additional dimension to people’s shopping, particularly food shopping.
“So I think it’s good but it won’t come into its own until Waitrose thinks enough houses in Wichelstowe are built. I’m not sure when they will actually build it.”
He said his only concern was for disabled access, as the plans did not appear to say there would be no inconveniently positioned raised kerbs or bollards.
John Newman, the chairman of the planning committee at Wroughton Parish Council, said the council feared the store would damage the viability of existing stores in the village and town.
He said: “Whatever the 40 to 50-page document says, in terms of the planning application, we will judge that on its merits.
“But whatever it says, the principle of the retail centre at this momentg oes against the local plan and won’t kick-start the local economy.
“It’s the cart before the horse – you don’t create a retail centre before you have the houses there.”
But Wayne Crabbe (Con, Wroughton and Wichelstowe) said: “Waitrose is a specialised taste. People will travel for miles to go to their stores. I don’t think it’s something that will have a detrimental effect on Wroughton.”