Plans for a new multi-million pound Waitrose store on Southam Road, Banbury have been submitted to Cherwell District Council.
The scheme has been brought forward by Mondelez International and Barwood Capital. If approved it could create up to 200 new jobs in the town with all employees joining the John Lewis Partnership.
Since the Banbury Guardian first revealed plans for the new store in 2014, several sites were considered before the 29,000 sq ft site in front of Modelez’s Banbury headquarters was chosen. The land formally housed a research and development centre and existing unused prefabricated building will be demolished,
Mondelez, a multinational food and drink conglomerate, is currently one of the town’s largest employers and is expected to sustain a workforce of 700 people at its Banbury plant by the end of 2015. It hopes to use funds raised from the sale of the land to Barwood to finance improvements to its staff facilities and offices.
In a letter of support for the application, Mondelez plant manager Paul Sinclair described the company’s ambitious plans to invest “very substantial resources” towards opening two new production lines and create new jobs in the town.
He said: “The Banbury plant is to become a flagship site within the joint-venture. “As part of the commitment to Banbury, Mondelez is keen to invest in enhancing the working environment for its staff.”
If successful the scheme was satisfy a long has been a long standing appetite for a Waitrose in the town, with current customers of the high-end chain travelling to other stores in the area which includes outlets in Daventry, Witney, Stratford-on-Avon Oxford and Brackley.
A Waitrose spokesperson said:“We are pleased to have reached the next stage of this project, as the plans are submitted. This is an exciting opportunity to realise a long-standing ambition to open a shop in Banbury, and the investment would enable us to create a significant amount of jobs for local people.”
A spokesman for Mondelez added: “We look forward to the application coming before council but it would be inappropriate to comment any further until a decision is taken.”
In March residents had the opportunity to view an exhibition on the proposals and more than 1000 people gave feedback on the plans with 84 per cent in support, 15 per cent against and 1 per cent neutral.
If the application is approved work could start later this year or early 2016 ahead of the store opening in 2017.