Waitrose scraps its original timetable for Midhurst store

Artists impression of the Midhurst store
Artists impression of the Midhurst store
  • Waitrose held a public exhibition in January showing plans for a Midhurst store
  • It was hoped to submit a planning application in the spring
  • Now a spokesman says the store cannot speculate on timings
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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.”

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