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Petition to stop new Waitrose store off Worcester's London Road
A WOULD-BE politician in Worcester is campaigning against the opening of a new Waitrose - saying it would have a "seriously negative impact" on residents.
Steve Mackay, the Conservative Party's candidate for Battenhall in this year's city council elections, wants the supermarket giant to do a u-turn on proposals for a store off London Road.
Mr Mackay, a retired policeman who lives in Battenhall, says he is "very concerned" about the implications for traffic.
A petition has been circulated around the area asking for householders to urge Worcester City Council's planning committee to reject the plan.
It comes despite Waitrose pledging to create 200 jobs, by opening the store on the site of the now defunct Ebenezer Bayliss print works.
He said: "While I know some people would welcome the additional retail competition in the city that Waitrose would bring, I am very concerned this new site will generate a huge amount of traffic in our area which will have a seriously negative impact on the Red Hill community."
He told your Worcester News he wanted the company to look at alternative sites elsewhere in the city.
"I'm not against Waitrose coming to Worcester, the fact they want to come is brilliant, but there may be better locations," he said.
"I've been campaigning around Battenhall and a number of people have told me they are concerned about the traffic.
"If it looked elsewhere it might even get a better footfall."
Your Worcester News understands the city council did ask Waitrose if it was interested in the current Cornmarket car park land off Trinity Street, but it was not considered suitable.
The land is currently for sale alongside the old Trinity House building, and is being earmarked for leisure use, but sits very close to to the £75 million Asda complex off City Walls Road.
Mr Mackay is also circulating a petition to try and prevent 200 homes being built in Middle Battenhall farm, which is being eyed up by Miller Homes.
Worcester MP Robin Walker said: "There may be a case for saying with these developments, because of the potential traffic implications we can have one but not the other.
"In that case Waitrose would be much more preferable - due to the number of jobs it would create I see it as beneficial to the city as a whole."
A planning application is expected to be submitted in the spring with an opening target of late 2015.
A Waitrose spokesman said: "We want to ensure the shop would be as convenient to get to as possible so it is our shared interest to ensure traffic is not an issue.
"Our transport consultants are working closely with the county council in its capacity as the local highways authority to assess the impact of the proposed development on the local highway network.
"The majority of vehicles travelling to and from the development will already be on surrounding roads travelling to existing food stores elsewhere in the area.
"Therefore, the overall increase in vehicle traffic on the local road network as a result of the development will be limited."
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