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Traders' 'horror' at Morrisons bid
1:30pm Wednesday 2nd May 2012 in Wallingford
Traders in Wallingford are stepping up their opposition to Morrisons’ bid to bring a supermarket to an industrial estate on the edge of the town.
Last week it emerged the supermarket giant was planning a mid-sized supermarket and petrol station on the Hithercroft industrial estate, which could create between 200 to 300 full and part-time jobs.
The bid to bring the store to the town was discussed at the Wallingford in Business meeting at the Ridgeway Centre last Wednesday.
And town councillors who met on Monday agreed to hold a special meeting this Friday at 6.30pm to discuss Morrisons’ proposals.
She added: “All the shopkeepers in the town are horrified that Morrisons is considering building a store on the industrial estate.
“Shopping guru Mary Portas is adamant out-of-town retail centres are one of the key causes for the decline of small towns.
“A second supermarket would be good for the town but only if it came into the town centre – and the old Waitrose site is available.
“Wallingford in Business is keen on Morrisons coming to Wallingford but if it is planning to come to the Hithercroft estate then it would rather it did not come at all.”
But town councillor Lynda Atkins said she would support Morrisons coming to the industrial estate.
She said: “Wallingford’s unique selling point is its independents rather than its chains, and I don’t think people shopping at Morrisons on the Hithercroft would necessarily damage trade in the town centre.
“It would bring jobs to the town and it would mean people who currently drive over to Tesco in Didcot would no longer have to do so.
“If Morrisons took the old Waitrose store it could prevent that area of the town from being redeveloped – that building needs to be knocked down and replaced.”
Morrisons will submit a planning application later this year following public consultation.
When asked if the chain had considered opening up the former Waitrose store in the town centre, a spokesman declined to comment.
Store spokesman Ben Copithorne said Morrisons planned to start its formal dialogue with SODC this month.
He added: “The plans are at an early stage and it’s appropriate that we should discuss them with the council before we talk more about what we would like to propose.”