Aldi and Marks and Spencer pitch for A505 Royston Gateway site after Waitrose pulls out due to ‘changes in economic market’
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People in Royston could be heading to Aldi or Marks and Spencer to do their food shop as soon as next year if plans for both supermarkets are given the green light.
A planning application for an Aldi supermarket and an M&S Foodhall at the site between York Way and the A505 was submitted to North Herts District Council in April and was validated last week.
The 30-acre site was given planning permission for a food store in 2014 part of the multi-million pound Royston Gateway project – with a Waitrose proposed to be built there together with a new Johnson Matthey storage facility.
However the plans folded with the high-end supermarket chain citing changes in the economic market as the reason for pulling out.
A spokesman for Waitrose told the Crow: “We were keen to have a store in Royston and explored the possibility of opening a shop there with the developer when they brought forward plans.
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“Since then the significant changes in market conditions have meant we have refocused our capital expenditure to focus on our existing estate rather
than opening new stores beyond those in the pipeline already for this year.”
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Waitrose’s decision is good news for M&S and Aldi, as both stores – which are characteristically at opposite ends of the market – have their sights on the town.
An Aldi spokeswoman said: “We are always looking for ways to help our customers shop and save closer to home.
“A planning application for a new Aldi store in Royston has been submitted and, if granted consent, it will bring more shopping choice to the town and create up to 50 new jobs. We will keep the local community updated.”
And an M&S spokeswoman added: “Subject to the planning application being approved, the store in Royston would open in 2018. We’re hoping to bring the very best of M&S food to customers in Royston with a new foodhall, and we look forward to updating the community soon.”
The medium-sized M&S Foodhall will also incorporate a customer café. The stores would share 170 parking bays, including 10 spaces for Blue Badge holders.
Supporting documents in the proposal state that the foodstores will help to meet the needs of the town and provide greater choice and competition in the local market, as well as catering for customers who are currently travelling from further afield.
The planning application also includes provision of a new junction for the A505 and a new link road to Orchard Road Industrial Estate.
The deadline for commenting on the plans is Thursday, June 15.
Go to planning applications on www.north-herts.gov.uk to submit your comments online. Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or send your views by post to PO Box 10613, NG6 6DH. Include the reference number 17/01024/1 with your comments.