Morrisons move ‘would generate £6.7m for town'

Oxford Mail: An artist’s impression of the proposed new Morrisons store in Wallingford An artist’s impression of the proposed new Morrisons store in Wallingford

MORRISONS will generate up to £6.7m a year for Wallingford’s economy, according to the supermarket chain.

A planning application has been submitted for a new food store on the Hithercroft estate, bringing £25m of investment, 300 new full and part-time jobs, a filling station and a 280-space car park.

The chain has pledged to fund more frequent bus journeys between Wallingford town centre and the industrial park where it wants to build the store.

But some traders fear the new Morrisons could hurt business in the town centre but the application claims some of the store’s shoppers will also visit town-centre shops in “linked trips”.

The Co-op has submitted a planning application to South Oxfordshire District Council for a £1.5m convenience store on the site of the former Waitrose store in St Martin’s Street but says it could withdraw the plan if Morrisons gets the go-ahead.

Development executive for Morrisons Andrew Birtwistle said there would be an estimated annual boost of about £6.7m a year.

He said: “The current proposals include a number of bus route enhancements, between the town centre and the Morrisons store.

“This will create improved bus linkage with Wallingford town centre, allowing linked shopping trips and improving the connectivity between the store and the town centre.”

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An economic assessment attached to the application adds: “The proposed store is likely to help Wallingford to retain a greater proportion of retail spend than it does curently.”

Town councillor Lynda Atkins said there was “no reason” to disbelieve the figures presented by Morrisons.

She added: “If this store doesn’t go ahead it will be a massive missed opportunity for Wallingford, particularly for those people who drive out to Didcot to do their shopping in Tesco or Sainsbury’s because they can’t afford to shop all the time at Waitrose in Wallingford.

“Some traders in the town centre do have concerns that Morrisons will harm their trade, but I think there is more prospect of them doing well out of this than they think is the case.

“If there are 300 people earning wages as a result of the Morrisons store then that is bound to improve the economic prospects of the town as a whole.

“They will spend some of their wages in Morrisons but some of their money will also flow into other businesses in the town.

“Staff will rent properties in the area and they might need to buy furniture for those homes.

“I would like to see this application dealt with as soon as possible – in January or February.”

Wallingford in Business spokesman Elaine Hornsby said: “Morrisons can come up with all the figures they like.

“But I don’t believe people will shop first at Morrisons and then move onto the town centre to shop in other stores, and other traders share my concerns.

“If Morrisons had tried to come into the town centre we would have welcomed them with open arms.”

Planners want comments by Wednesday, December 12.

Comments (3)

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10:53am Thu 22 Nov 12

Chilloxon says...

Elaine Hornsby protectionist status is so narrow minded. She fails to acknowledge all those people who currently do their food shop, not in Waitrose, but in Tesco or Sainsburys who now have a viable option to purchase in Wallingford. And the stupid comment about coming into the town centre is just that. WHERE? We all pretty much acknowledge the CoOp/Waitrose building isn't fit for purpose.
Elaine Hornsby protectionist status is so narrow minded. She fails to acknowledge all those people who currently do their food shop, not in Waitrose, but in Tesco or Sainsburys who now have a viable option to purchase in Wallingford. And the stupid comment about coming into the town centre is just that. WHERE? We all pretty much acknowledge the CoOp/Waitrose building isn't fit for purpose. Chilloxon
  • Score: 0

1:29pm Thu 22 Nov 12

Wally Ford says...

Co-Op haven't submitted plans to build their own superstore either. They have applied to convert the former waitrose into flats and 3 retail units. They are consequently telling the town council that they may take one of the units and open it as a store but on condition that the Morrisons application is turned down. If the town council do turn down Morrisons, you can bet that the co-op won't bother using one of the units themselves.

Bring on Morrisons I say.
Co-Op haven't submitted plans to build their own superstore either. They have applied to convert the former waitrose into flats and 3 retail units. They are consequently telling the town council that they may take one of the units and open it as a store but on condition that the Morrisons application is turned down. If the town council do turn down Morrisons, you can bet that the co-op won't bother using one of the units themselves. Bring on Morrisons I say. Wally Ford
  • Score: 0

5:17pm Mon 3 Dec 12

nickd2 says...

"Town councillor Lynda Atkins said there was “no reason” to disbelieve the figures presented by Morrisons."

There's every reason to disbelieve the figures presented by Morrisons. People will eat the same amount of food and then use the same amount of toilet paper as they did before. If they buy it from Morrisons they won't be buying it from somewhere else. Building a supermarket doesn't generate wealth, it just takes it from elsewhere.
"Town councillor Lynda Atkins said there was “no reason” to disbelieve the figures presented by Morrisons." There's every reason to disbelieve the figures presented by Morrisons. People will eat the same amount of food and then use the same amount of toilet paper as they did before. If they buy it from Morrisons they won't be buying it from somewhere else. Building a supermarket doesn't generate wealth, it just takes it from elsewhere. nickd2
  • Score: 0

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