BUSINESS chiefs have hailed the announcement of a new Waitrose store in Uttoxeter as a ‘major step forward’ in the town’s regeneration.
Last week it was announced that Waitrose had applied to open a store at JCB’s town centre legacy development.
The digger giant’s plan to transform the derelict former heavy products site in the centre of Uttoxeter was initially announced after the factory closed in 2008.
Uttoxeter is still yet to see building work start on the shops, houses and leisure facilities that have been promised.
But Waitrose’s application, according to JCB chairman Lord Bamford, would act as a ‘catalyst’ to get the rest of the project off the ground.
Now bosses from the Chamber of Commerce covering Uttoxeter have expressed their excitement at Waitrose’s impending arrival.
Chris Plant, director of Burton and District Chamber of Commerce, said: “The proposed Waitrose development would propel Uttoxeter further as a great place to shop in the region, with a strong mixture of independent retailers and international brands.
“This is a major step forward in the regeneration of our region.
“The completed development will ensure Uttoxeter becomes a total destination for shopping and leisure, with a strong retail offer, the racecourse, JCB and other international visitor destinations on our doorstep.
“With all the new developments, not only will this see patronage to the new store, businesses and attractions, but it creates jobs and helps support the local economy across the whole area.”
The new Waitrose store, which will provide 180 jobs, will be on ‘stilts’, with car parking facilities beneath the building.
The site will eventually contain 257 new houses, a wildlife area along the Picknall Brook and a host of shops.
Lord Bamford said: “It has always been my intention that this development leaves a legacy to Uttoxeter, given my family’s long association with the town and this site in particular.
“While recent economic circumstances mean it has taken longer to advance than I would have liked, I’m delighted that the scheme is now moving forward in a way that will eventually contribute to the wider renaissance of Uttoxeter.”