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Waitrose bid wins support at town council

(December 17, 2008)

MEMBERS of the town council’s planning advisory committee have given their unanimous support to the proposal by the Henry Boot company to build a Waitrose store on the Dents site in Fairfield Road.

The store will be about 20,000 sq ft in floor area which is roughly comparable in size to our nearest Waitrose store in Gillingham.

Councillors were told that the Waitrose plan for a store in Trowbridge is now a non-starter.

“I was pleased to see that two representatives from the developers were on hand to answer questions put by the elected members and by any members of the public,” said Steve Dancey, former Warminster county councillor.

“Despite the importance of this matter attendance by members of the public was just two.

“Some people are inevitably concerned that Waitrose may not be for them but my view is that it will greatly benefit the viability and vitality of Warminster town centre which is fortunate in not having any out of town supermarkets. The other supermarket will have to up its game.

“With two major supermarkets close by the centre of town we will have a real opportunity to get Warminster on the right track. ”

Despite their overall support councillors raised a number of concerns which will inevitably be shared by townsfolk.

Former Chamber of Commerce chairman Tony Nicklin, said: “I will give this my fullest support as it will bring quality to the town.

“Other quality shops will be persuaded to come here because of Waitrose.”

Councillor Keith Humphries was worried about the traffic in Station Road.

“Station Road is blocked by traffic almost all day long and I don’t see a traffic plan in there,” he said.

Councillor Robert Fryer was worried about the impact large areas of asphalt would have on the area’s already poor drainage.

“This area used to be fields and when it rained the water used to drain away.”

(I can verify this as when I was at Dents in the summer of 1976 I was employed to cut the field next to Dents’ social club using a traditional scythe - possibly the last time such a tool was used by a worker in the town.)

In response the developers revealed that the material used over much of the site would be porous enabling surface water to drain away, a traffic plan had been prepared and the traffic situation could be expected to improve when the Market Place improvements are completed and the traffic signals re-timed.

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