THE FATE of a new Waitrose store planned for the city is set to be decided this week.
Developer Opus Land, which is leading the project, is proposing to knock down the industrial units which made up the old printing works on London Road to make room for the store.
If plans are approved at a meeting of Worcester City Council’s planning committee on Thursday (July 24), work on the scheme, which also includes a 310 space car park, could get underway this autumn, with a planned opening at the end of 2015.
It would also be the first Waitrose to be built in Worcester.
Despite the possibility of creating up to 200 new jobs in the city, the project has faced opposition from some residents in Battenhall.
Coun Steven Mackay, councillor for the area, who has led calls to look at other sites for the supermarket, said he felt the introduction of a Waitrose store would create further traffic congestion.
“I am very much in favour of Waitrose coming to Worcester, but it would be better if there had been a different site that would have alleviated the problem of bringing any further traffic issues to residents,” he said.
“If the highways department together with Waitrose can counter any problem then it will be all well and good. If there was no solution then it would merely add to a significant problem, however I would expect that if it was to go ahead then a solution would be reviewed because it would make pure sense.”
But Richard Smith, managing director of Opus Land, said he was pleased their proposals had been recommended for approval by city planners.
“We are delighted to be involved in bringing the Waitrose brand to Worcester and to have found the perfect site for their new shop,” he said,
“It has long been an ambition of Waitrose to open in Worcester and those living in Worcester will be equally delighted to have a Waitrose presence in the city.”