WAITROSE and John Lewis at home are in talks with the borough council to open up a landmark superstore in Basingstoke town centre.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council confirmed this week that Muse Developments, the company appointed to spearhead the regeneration of the Basing View business park, is in talks with bosses at the two businesses about a major new development.
The Gazette understands that the two stores – a Waitrose supermarket and John Lewis at home department store – would be under one roof on council-owned land at the western end of Basing View towards Eastrop Roundabout and Festival Place. Both brands are owned by John Lewis Partnership.
If the scheme gets the green light, Basingstoke would be only the second place in the country that a John Lewis at home and Waitrose supermarket have opened side by side.
The only other store of its kind opened in November last year in Ipswich. That outlet consists of a 43,000 sq ft John Lewis at home and a 27,000 sq ft Waitrose. The two shops share an entrance and customer cafe.
John Lewis at home sells furniture, home wares, electrical, nursery, and travel goods. The Waitrose at Ipswich includes an in-store bakery, meat, fish, and deli counters. It also sells regionally sourced food. The £12million Ipswich superstore created 375 new jobs.
Councillor Ranil Jayawardena, deputy leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, welcomed news of the talks.
“It’s encouraging that these brands are keen to come to Basingstoke and underlines the strength of Muse’s plans to breathe new life into Basing View,” he said.
“Hot on the heels of Airkix opening at Basingstoke Leisure Park last week, this latest news shows there is a real buzz about the borough with major investors wanting to come here and be part of our success story.”
Waitrose’s property and development director Nigel Keen confirmed that negotiations are underway.
“Early discussions are taking place – more details will follow as the scheme progresses,” he said.
Mike Auger, regional director at Muse Developments, said that if the deal comes off, it would be a major boost for Basingstoke.
“A key objective of the wider Basing View project is to create better linkages between the office and retail areas of the town centre, and to enhance perceptions of the area through securing new investment and quality occupiers,” he said.
“If a proposal comes forward out of the discussions with John Lewis and Waitrose, this would address all of these aims and be a significant boost both to Basingstoke and particularly the regeneration plans for the Basing View area.”
If a deal is agreed and the proposed store is given planning permission, it would be the first milestone development in the council’s £200million, 15-year project to revamp the ageing 65-acre Basing View business park.