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Waitrose on town's shopping list
WE WANT Waitrose - that's the message from Basingstoke's council leader after the unveiling of a major scheme that would bring a new supermarket and hundreds of homes and jobs to the town.
Councillor John Leek's comment followed Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council's announcement of plans to sell an 8.3-acre triangle of land between the railway, ring road and Gresley Road near South view on the east side of the town.
Council bosses have identified a preferred bidder for the site. The favoured bidder - whose identity remains confidential - wants to build an 80-bed budget hotel, a restaurant, cafe, 448 flats, 29,601 square feet of office space and a supermarket. It is claimed the scheme would create nearly 500 jobs.
Although no particular supermarket chain is connected with the preferred bid, Cllr Leek made it clear that Waitrose - part of the John Lewis Partnership company - is on the council's shopping list and would be a welcome addition to Basingstoke.
He said: "It would be good if we could attract a major retailer such as Waitrose because it would improve the prosperity and appearance of Basingstoke.
"I understand Waitrose would like to come to Basingstoke and we would welcome them with open arms."
Referring to the Gresley Road site proposals, Cllr Leek said: "This project has all the right ingredients and we believe it would be to the benefit of the borough in terms of finaces and image."
*See Thursday's Gazette for more details on the Gresley Road site plans - and you can have your say on the plans, and whether or not you would like to see Waitrose come to Basingstoke, by leaving your comments on this story.