Store wars could end in ‘disaster’ for town

Oxford Mail: Town clerk Andrew Rogers, Elaine Hornsby, mayor, Ros Lester and town councillor Bernard Stone outside the former Waitrose store they are desperate to see redeveloped Town clerk Andrew Rogers, Elaine Hornsby, mayor, Ros Lester and town councillor Bernard Stone outside the former Waitrose store they are desperate to see redeveloped

SUPERMARKET bosses have threatened to withdraw plans to open a town centre store in Wallingford if a competitor decides to go ahead with another new development in the area.

In September, the Co-operative Group submitted a £1.5m plan to South Oxfordshire District Council to open a food store at the former Waitrose site in St Martin’s Street.

The store has been empty since Waitrose switched to a new location at the other end of the street in 2004.

In recent years, the Co-op owned site, has housed a number of different pop-up stores but is now empty and civic leaders are desperate for it to be redeveloped.

Town council leaders have told planning authority SODC that they approve of the planning application.

But Co-op bosses have indicated they could withdraw the application for the convenience store and seven flats if Morrisons gets the go-ahead for a new mid-sized store and petrol filling station on the Hithercroft industrial estate.

The announcement would be “disastrous” for the town, it has been claimed. Town council clerk Andrew Rogers said: “The Co-op says it is unlikely to proceed if Morrisons gets planning permission for its new supermarket.

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“The Co-op felt there would be insufficient business for Waitrose, the Co-op convenience store and Morrisons.

“Some town councillors feel the Co-op is putting pressure on the town council and the district council to think about the consequences of granting planning permission to Morrisons. With at least 500 new homes being built in the Wallingford area there should be sufficient business for Waitrose, Morrisons and a Co-op.”

Town councillor Lynda Atkins said: “Co-op were effectively saying ‘if you want your town centre sorted out, then don’t back Morrisons’.

“The presentation didn’t go down too well with some councillors.”

Elaine Hornsby, a spokesman for Wallingford in Business, which represents some independent traders in the town, said she had written to SODC council leaders to urge them to consider the Co-op planning application at the earliest possible opportunity.

She added: “I think we have to get the Co-op in the town centre before a decision is made on Morrisons.

“If Morrisons get planning permission and then the Co-op say they are not coming then I think that would be disastrous for the town centre.”

The Morrisons store would create 300 full and part-time jobs and a planning application is being prepared.

Co-op spokesman James Lewis said: “Waitrose has a purpose-built supermarket in the town centre and if Morrisons built a similar store on the outskirts then the competition for the Co-op could be too great, even if it had longer trading hours.”

Comments (10)

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2:58pm Wed 14 Nov 12

Chippy James says...

The Coop took the same line in Chipping Norton, while there attitude was a little grating at times, they have a legal responsibility to spend member's money wisely. It is very diffcult to see how a town the size of Wallingford could support 2 supermarkets and a large convenience store. Older residents will remember that there used to be 2 supermarkets in town when Gateway/Somerfield was where waitrose is now. If that store had been able to maintain the sales it would not have run into the ground and closed. The questions for the planning meeting are can Wallingford support these supermarkets NOW not in the future and what damage would that out of town store do to the town centre.
The Coop took the same line in Chipping Norton, while there attitude was a little grating at times, they have a legal responsibility to spend member's money wisely. It is very diffcult to see how a town the size of Wallingford could support 2 supermarkets and a large convenience store. Older residents will remember that there used to be 2 supermarkets in town when Gateway/Somerfield was where waitrose is now. If that store had been able to maintain the sales it would not have run into the ground and closed. The questions for the planning meeting are can Wallingford support these supermarkets NOW not in the future and what damage would that out of town store do to the town centre. Chippy James

3:33pm Wed 14 Nov 12

Wallingford2 says...

Chippy James, have you also forgotten what a nightmare it was? Squeezing lorries down Goldsmiths Lane every day and the back up of traffic it caused? THAT'S the disaster in this story!!

The old Waitrose site should be redeveloped into something else and let Morrisons get on with it. That site is outdated and an eyesore.

The Co-op shouldn't really be seen as almost blackmailing the town should it? Not a good call for such an ethical company.
Chippy James, have you also forgotten what a nightmare it was? Squeezing lorries down Goldsmiths Lane every day and the back up of traffic it caused? THAT'S the disaster in this story!! The old Waitrose site should be redeveloped into something else and let Morrisons get on with it. That site is outdated and an eyesore. The Co-op shouldn't really be seen as almost blackmailing the town should it? Not a good call for such an ethical company. Wallingford2

3:45pm Wed 14 Nov 12

Tom Cranmer says...

Just for a little clarification - the Co-operative Food Store in Chipping Norton is owned and operated by Midcounties Co-operative, and it is Manchester based Co-operative Group that own the Wallingford store. I agree with the first comment - margins are so tight that you need to see what the market is like now; you cannot open a store and bank on there being enough trade to keep you in business five years hence.
Just for a little clarification - the Co-operative Food Store in Chipping Norton is owned and operated by Midcounties Co-operative, and it is Manchester based Co-operative Group that own the Wallingford store. I agree with the first comment - margins are so tight that you need to see what the market is like now; you cannot open a store and bank on there being enough trade to keep you in business five years hence. Tom Cranmer

4:12pm Wed 14 Nov 12

EMBOX1 says...

The fact is that Waitrose is a high-end supermarket and a LOT of people go to Didcot Tesco/Sainsburys to shop.

Building a Morrisons would hurt Didcot more than a new Co-Op which is usually overpriced anyway.

I think both stores should be allowed to go ahead - customers will decide with their wallets.
The fact is that Waitrose is a high-end supermarket and a LOT of people go to Didcot Tesco/Sainsburys to shop. Building a Morrisons would hurt Didcot more than a new Co-Op which is usually overpriced anyway. I think both stores should be allowed to go ahead - customers will decide with their wallets. EMBOX1

5:18pm Wed 14 Nov 12

d_1951 says...

Chippy James wrote:
The Coop took the same line in Chipping Norton, while there attitude was a little grating at times, they have a legal responsibility to spend member's money wisely. It is very diffcult to see how a town the size of Wallingford could support 2 supermarkets and a large convenience store. Older residents will remember that there used to be 2 supermarkets in town when Gateway/Somerfield was where waitrose is now. If that store had been able to maintain the sales it would not have run into the ground and closed. The questions for the planning meeting are can Wallingford support these supermarkets NOW not in the future and what damage would that out of town store do to the town centre.
"Older residents will remember that there used to be 2 supermarkets in town " ... in fact they'll remember when there used to be 3, one of them a Co-op, plus several butchers, greengrocers, fishmongers, etc.. Of course since then the town has already grown from 2000 homes to 3500 homes.

As another has implied, the main problem with either proposal is the appalling road system within the town. The Morrisons proposal could be adapted to provide a non-residentially-li
ned route throught the west of the town, avoiding the problem of more traffic through the town centre, or on Croft Road, or via rat-runs. Similarly, a wide-enough route to the Co-op site could be developed. Either would involve some constructive destruction of existing properties.

I think the first task for the so-called "planners" is to plan how a more sensible road system than that existing can be developed. Let's not just dump some so-called "developer"'s profit-generating-to
ol on the town and leave the rest of usthe suffer the consequences.
[quote][p][bold]Chippy James[/bold] wrote: The Coop took the same line in Chipping Norton, while there attitude was a little grating at times, they have a legal responsibility to spend member's money wisely. It is very diffcult to see how a town the size of Wallingford could support 2 supermarkets and a large convenience store. Older residents will remember that there used to be 2 supermarkets in town when Gateway/Somerfield was where waitrose is now. If that store had been able to maintain the sales it would not have run into the ground and closed. The questions for the planning meeting are can Wallingford support these supermarkets NOW not in the future and what damage would that out of town store do to the town centre.[/p][/quote]"Older residents will remember that there used to be 2 supermarkets in town " ... in fact they'll remember when there used to be 3, one of them a Co-op, plus several butchers, greengrocers, fishmongers, etc.. Of course since then the town has already grown from 2000 homes to 3500 homes. As another has implied, the main problem with either proposal is the appalling road system within the town. The Morrisons proposal could be adapted to provide a non-residentially-li ned route throught the west of the town, avoiding the problem of more traffic through the town centre, or on Croft Road, or via rat-runs. Similarly, a wide-enough route to the Co-op site could be developed. Either would involve some constructive destruction of existing properties. I think the first task for the so-called "planners" is to plan how a more sensible road system than that existing can be developed. Let's not just dump some so-called "developer"'s profit-generating-to ol on the town and leave the rest of usthe suffer the consequences. d_1951

6:22pm Wed 14 Nov 12

Pavinder Msvarensy says...

As Wallingford says. One cannot give into the childish toys out of the pram threats of the CO-OP otherwise what other blackmail threats does that lead to, another pointed out the traffic problem of a large lorry delivering to the CO-OP site. It seems that from a majority of posters in past stories that a Morrisons is the favoured option so I hope that the council vote on the facts and not pressure from well off friends.
As Wallingford says. One cannot give into the childish toys out of the pram threats of the CO-OP otherwise what other blackmail threats does that lead to, another pointed out the traffic problem of a large lorry delivering to the CO-OP site. It seems that from a majority of posters in past stories that a Morrisons is the favoured option so I hope that the council vote on the facts and not pressure from well off friends. Pavinder Msvarensy

3:40am Thu 15 Nov 12

Myron Blatz says...

All the major supermarket chains set out to exclude the competition where they can - including the Coop - and they all fear Morrisons and Asda! Truth is that the Coop (known for possibly being one of the most overpriced of all UK supermarkets due part of Coop income going to support Labour and the Coop Party) is just trying to muscle-out the opposition - and sadly, many local authorities are seemingly prepared to bow to such pressure, especially if they are Labour controlled. Nor are any of these big supermarkets locally owned, and whilst they may employ local people, the profits go somewhere else - though at least Waitrose shareholders are the employees, so Wallingford would benefit. However, one of the big issues with retail outlets in town centres, is that supermarkets need either their own large carpark, or easy access to one - and even smaller 'convenience' outlets need equally convenient short-term h is thatparking. Nor can people actually carry a week's family shopping onto a bus - let alone find somewhere to put all the bags, so using park and ride (unless a tourist wanting to buy a genuine fake Inspector Morse Horlicks Mug?) isn't a viable option, either. Maybe the landlord of the site could re-develop as student accommodation ......
All the major supermarket chains set out to exclude the competition where they can - including the Coop - and they all fear Morrisons and Asda! Truth is that the Coop (known for possibly being one of the most overpriced of all UK supermarkets due part of Coop income going to support Labour and the Coop Party) is just trying to muscle-out the opposition - and sadly, many local authorities are seemingly prepared to bow to such pressure, especially if they are Labour controlled. Nor are any of these big supermarkets locally owned, and whilst they may employ local people, the profits go somewhere else - though at least Waitrose shareholders are the employees, so Wallingford would benefit. However, one of the big issues with retail outlets in town centres, is that supermarkets need either their own large carpark, or easy access to one - and even smaller 'convenience' outlets need equally convenient short-term h is thatparking. Nor can people actually carry a week's family shopping onto a bus - let alone find somewhere to put all the bags, so using park and ride (unless a tourist wanting to buy a genuine fake Inspector Morse Horlicks Mug?) isn't a viable option, either. Maybe the landlord of the site could re-develop as student accommodation ...... Myron Blatz

9:11am Thu 15 Nov 12

RoHind says...

When Waitrose relocated to the present position, all the town center shops and Wallingford Business Partnership had concerns about the move. Although among a lot of other criticism they were 'up in arms' about the entrance being to the car park at the rear of the store and not the town center, and how this would effect the foot fall to their businesses. Secondly it was how Waitrose would destroy their livelihood selling the same brands and products.
Since its move to my knowledge, among others a butchers/fishmongers has opened along with a decent delicatessens, plus couple of coffee shops have started trading.
Shops that have closed, Hifi/music shop, that blamed the internet. A bridal shop, that seems to be a 'phoenix' and an expensive restaurant.
So Wallingford businesses, is it just fear of change again, or is there some solid data that you could present to us as to why you need a second town center supermarket?
When Waitrose relocated to the present position, all the town center shops and Wallingford Business Partnership had concerns about the move. Although among a lot of other criticism they were 'up in arms' about the entrance being to the car park at the rear of the store and not the town center, and how this would effect the foot fall to their businesses. Secondly it was how Waitrose would destroy their livelihood selling the same brands and products. Since its move to my knowledge, among others a butchers/fishmongers has opened along with a decent delicatessens, plus couple of coffee shops have started trading. Shops that have closed, Hifi/music shop, that blamed the internet. A bridal shop, that seems to be a 'phoenix' and an expensive restaurant. So Wallingford businesses, is it just fear of change again, or is there some solid data that you could present to us as to why you need a second town center supermarket? RoHind

4:12pm Fri 16 Nov 12

annmarie1804 says...

A lot of people, me included, cannot afford Waitrose prices, let alone separate butchers etc. Morrisons is within my budget and I believe Wallingford has to move with the times. There are enough independent shops here as well as long standing department stores to cope with Morrisons. Again, I have to go elsewhere to do my weekly shop and if I or my family need clothing or other purchases besides food I/we have to go to Cowley, Didcot, Reading or Oxford for these.

I am all for local people shopping locally and keeping the town alive but reality is we just can't afford to do so!
A lot of people, me included, cannot afford Waitrose prices, let alone separate butchers etc. Morrisons is within my budget and I believe Wallingford has to move with the times. There are enough independent shops here as well as long standing department stores to cope with Morrisons. Again, I have to go elsewhere to do my weekly shop and if I or my family need clothing or other purchases besides food I/we have to go to Cowley, Didcot, Reading or Oxford for these. I am all for local people shopping locally and keeping the town alive but reality is we just can't afford to do so! annmarie1804

11:58am Mon 19 Nov 12

Milliest says...

Morrisons has got to be the answer to bring local people back to shop in Wallingford.

The old Waitrose should be done up to look more attractive and to house a number of smaller units so that we can have a variety of small shops to add interest to that end of the town. We should aim at bringing people into the town for more.

A supermarket petrol station would be a godsend and may stop a lot of people to Didcot.
Morrisons has got to be the answer to bring local people back to shop in Wallingford. The old Waitrose should be done up to look more attractive and to house a number of smaller units so that we can have a variety of small shops to add interest to that end of the town. We should aim at bringing people into the town for more. A supermarket petrol station would be a godsend and may stop a lot of people to Didcot. Milliest

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