Councillor brands new Waitrose store plans a ‘sweetie’ as Royston Gateway scheme gets council backing

PUBLISHED: 15:41 15 August 2014 | UPDATED: 15:41 15 August 2014

The scheme has been backed by Royston Town Council

The scheme has been backed by Royston Town Council

Archant

Councillors have given their blessing to plans for a Waitrose supermarket, despite one calling the scheme a ‘sweetie’ to enable the building of an industrial site.

The Waitrose store would be built as part of a development known as Royston Gateway, which would be built next to the Orchard Road industrial estate and involve the construction of a new distribution centre for precious metals firm Johnson Matthey.

A new junction on the A505 would also be built to service the area, meaning Johnson Matthey lorries would no longer have to come through the town.

At a meeting of Royston Town Council’s planning committee on Monday, councillors agreed not to oppose the scheme.

But Councillor Rod Kennedy said: “The supermarket is a sweetie to distract us from the main proposal, an expansion of the industrial area onto greenfield land.”

Councillor Kennedy described the location of the distribution centre was illogical, adding: “It is in the far corner of the site, as far away from Johnson Matthey’s headquarters as possible,” he said. “It will stick out like a sore thumb.”

Waitrose says the new store will create 130 new jobs, while a consultation held earlier this year showed 96 per cent of 908 responders supporting the distribution centre.

Committe chair Councillor Lindsay Davidson said: “This is a hugely popular project, it’s useful to know what residents think.

“Johnson Matthey need this expansion so that their Royston factory continues to be their main base in this country and Europe.”

Councillor Rob Inwood said: “It will take HGVs away from the town and help the traffic problems we have at York Road every evening. I can only see positives.”

The committee asked for a list of conditions to be added to the planning permission, including a request for a public bus service to run to Waitrose from the town centre.

What do you think? Will Royston Gateway be good for the town? Email postbag@royston-crow.co.uk.

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