Early Christmas present for Royston as Waitrose store confirmed in A505 development project

Waitrose is coming to Royston.

Waitrose is coming to Royston. - Credit: Archant

A bid to bring a new Waitrose supermarket to Royston, and with it 130 jobs, has been given the green light.

The Royston Gateway scheme, which includes an outlet for the upmarket retailer, a new roundabout and a storage depot for chemicals firm Johnson Matthey, was approved, as expected, at a North Herts District Council planning meeting last week.

The Waitrose store with 200 car parking spaces will be built next to the Orchard Road industrial estate, along with a new junction on the A505 – meaning Johnson Matthey lorries will no longer have to run through the town.

Councillor David Levett, who holds the council’s planning brief, said: “Councillors considered the key issues including the impact on the town centre, transport and the effect on neighbours before resolving to grant the application.”

The plans have received a positive response from people living in the area. A survey conducted by the developer Kiafield found 98 per cent in favour, and research elsewhere in the country has found that having a Waitrose store can boost local house prices.

North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald said: “This is good news, both because Johnson Matthey are expanding and bringing more jobs to the town and also because Waitrose will be widely welcomed in providing more choice for shoppers.”

Former Crow reporter Matthew Gooding tweeted: “Better than Santa Claus. Fact.”

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Waitrose says the store will create 130 new jobs.

A spokesman said: “This is an exciting opportunity to help achieve the aspiration to create an employment hub for the area.

“We are very pleased with the decision which will allow us to progress our discussions with the developer with a view to taking a lease of the proposed supermarket.”

Councillor Bill Davidson, who represents Royston, said: “I think the Royston Gateway scheme is a good thing for the town.

“The extra road will relieve congestion at the roundabout.

“The supermarket will be well used, and it’s good that it will create more jobs.”

Another application to build 17 homes at the back of Station Road in Ashwell was withdrawn at the same meeting.