May 19 2013 Latest news:
Robin Cottle, Reporter
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Waitrose bosses had a meeting with Bexley councillors and Old Bexley and Sidcup MP James Brokenshire to discuss their decision to not build a store in Sidcup.
It was planned as part of a development that would include a two-floor Travelodge where the iconic Black Horse pub used to sit and the MP was joined by council leader Cllr Teresa O’Neill and her colleague Cllr Linda Bailey.
The meeting took place at the supermarket’s office in Victoria last Friday (18).
Mr Brokenshire said: “Waitrose have said they want to open a store in Sidcup and we want them to follow through on their original commitments.
“As an organisation which prides itself on its strong community relations, Waitrose should reflect on the strong views of Sidcup residents and put their plans back on track.”
The supermarket chain was granted planning permission by the council in March and took out a 15 year lease on the premises.
However, John Lewis Partnership, which had driven the bid, announced last month that it no longer wished to proceed.
This concerned Sidcup residents who stated that Waitrose would be their preferred tenant for the space.
Rita Grootendorst, 62, of Old Farm Avenue, said: “Sidcup desperately needs better shopping and Waitrose would have provided that.”
Director of property services at Waitrose Nigel Keen said they still regard Sidcup as a potential site for a store but they wanted to be sure it would work for both the business and the town.
He continued: “Our team were pleased to meet people from Bexley council and James Brokenshire MP and are grateful for their ongoing support for our business.
“We are keen to come up with a format that is absolutely right for Sidcup for the long-term and commercially viable for us. As this process takes time we have put our scheme on hold in the short-term.
Bexley councillors had earlier released a petition over Waitrose’s decision, and they have received 380 of their target 500 signatures.
The matter will be discussed at a council planning meeting tonight (24).