Waitrose in talks over town store

A Waitrose staff member on the fish counter helps out a customer. NNL-140730-131151001
A Waitrose staff member on the fish counter helps out a customer. NNL-140730-131151001

Supermarket giant Waitrose has confirmed to the Banbury Guardian that it remains in talks over a possible move to a site in the town.

The supermarket – part of the John Lewis Partnership – has said it is ‘exploring an opportunity and continuing discussions’ regarding a development on land that currently forms part of the Mondelez International site in Southam Road.

The Waitrose discussions are being held with Barwood Commercial Property Limited Partnership, which secured an option over a 17-acre plot of available land at Mondolez in February 2013. The likelihood of the development progressing, however, remains in the balance with Cherwell District Council (CDC) stating that it has had no planning applications or approaches regarding the site since plans for a retail park development were revealed in 2012.

CDC spokseman Jemma Callow said: “We have not received a planning application from Waitrose, nor have we had an approach from Mondelez, Barwood or Waitrose about this site.

“The 2012 application is the most recent for this location. The application has been held in abeyance at the applicant’s [Barwood’s] request but Cherwell is now seeking its withdrawal as it is so old.”

Barwood’s website contains details of the application and confirms ‘detailed terms are now agreed with Waitrose to take a 40,000 sq ft food store on a quarter of the site, with a planning application expected to be submitted imminently’. The website also states conversations with numerous other retail operators continue regarding the remainder of the site.

Mondolez Interational also confirmed yesterday (Wednesday) that it remains in discussions with Barwood around the sale of surplus land on its site in Banbury.

Waitrose has more than 300 stores across the United Kingdom, including neighbouring towns such as Brackley, Witney and Daventry. It employs more than 37,000 staff nationwide.