Plans for a multi-million pound investment to bring supermarket chain Waitrose and 200 new jobs to Banbury have been confirmed.
Brought forward by Barwood Capital and Mondelez International, the proposed high-end supermarket will be built on surplus land in front of Mondelez’s Banbury factory on Southam Road – a possibility first reported by the Banbury Guardian in July last year.
About 24,000 newsletters containing a freepost feedback form will now be distributed to nearby residents to inform them about the plans.
Martin Gorman, Waitrose development surveyor, said: “Waitrose has a long-standing ambition to open a shop in Banbury and believe the plans brought forward by Barwood Capital and Mondelez offer an exciting and viable opportunity to achieve this.
“We are keen to get as many views as possible before an application is submitted. The proposal will allow us to replace a surplus space with major new investment which will deliver new jobs, more retail choice and improved facilities for Mondelez.”
The 29,000sq ft site will have a 220-space car park and create up to 200 jobs, with employees becoming partners in the John Lewis Partnership.
The new store will provide the latest Waitrose food and drink offer, which will include meat, fish and cheese counters as well as a coffee shop. Monies released from the sale of the site from Mondelez to Barwood Capital, which will submit the final planning application, will generate funds for Mondelez to invest in its Banbury factory. This includes upgrading staff facilities and offices.
A public exhibition about the plans will be held at Banbury Town Hall on Friday, March 6 from 2pm-6pm and on Saturday, March 7 from 10am-1pm. Representatives from Waitrose and the project team will be on hand to answer questions.
The question of when the supermarket would come to the town has been on many people’s minds in recent years.
If the application is approved, construction work could start later this year ready for an early 2017 opening.
Paul Sinclair, Mondelez International site director, said: “Mondelez International is proud to be one of the largest employers in Banbury, with 700 people expected to be employed on the site by the end of 2015.
“The sale of surplus land to Barwood will generate funds to invest in updating and enhancing our staff facilities and offices.
“These investments will improve the working environment for everyone working there.”
Residents can also register their comments about the proposal online at www.waitrosebanbury.co.uk