It has been one of the most wanted items on Midhurst’s shopping list for years.
But now it appears plans for a Waitrose supermarket on the site of the old Grange leisure centre are still some way from the check-out.
I wouldn’t like to speculate on timings at this stage
And some fear that planning and commercial problems may see the supermarket remaining stuck in the freezer section for some time to come.
Six months ago, Waitrose held a public exhibition of its plans to develop the site of the old community centre next to the new Grange.
Representatives from Waitrose and its developer for the Midhurst project, Kimberley Developments, unveiled their proposals for an 18,000sq ft supermarket.
For Kimberley, Hugh Caseley said: “I don’t know of anybody who thinks this is a bad idea.”
For Waitrose, Mike Newton said: “We believe the plans provide an exciting opportunity not only to bring Waitrose to the area, but encourage shoppers to remain in Midhurst.”
Waitrose said it hoped to submit a planning application to the South Downs National Park in the spring and if permission was granted, start building this year and open in the autumn of 2016.
But it appears Waitrose has scrapped its timetable and progress has apparently slowed down.
The supermarket would not this week be drawn on new timings for the much-anticipated store.
A spokesman said: “Discussions between Waitrose, the developer and the council are ongoing ahead of submitting an application as soon as we are able.
“I wouldn’t like to speculate on timings at this stage.”
And a spokesman for Chichester District Council (CDC), which owns the land and exchanged contracts with Kimberley to buy the land in January, said: “Developments of this nature are often complex and lengthy in process.
“CDC continues to work closely with the selected developer, Kimberley Developments, and Waitrose in order to try and progress this project for the benefit of the local community.”
District councillor Steve Morley said: “Midhurst residents would still very much like to see a Waitrose supermarket in our town and trust all concerned are working hard to deliver this.”
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage at www.midhurstandpetworth.co.uk/
2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MidhurstandPetworthObserver
3) Follow us on Twitter @mid_pet_obs
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
The Midhurst and Petworth Observer - always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.