Wimbledon war on Waitrose


Residents are angry after plans to build a branch of Waitrose on Alexandra Road


By Chris Mandle

Wimbledon’s war on Waitrose escalated this week with residents refusing to support development plans.

Waitrose proposed that the old B&Q site on Alexandra Road could be used for their new store but there have been repeated setbacks since the initial discussions last year.

Their store will provide 250 jobs and will include a 100-space car park, but residents are unhappy with the location of the store, which is 400 metres from the town centre.

“It’s a waste of money, we have enough supermarkets in Wimbledon,” said Charlene Buchanan. “I know for a fact I won’t be walking all the way to a new Waitrose. It’s too out of the way.”

Concerns were also raised on the new store drawing custom away from the town centre and causing traffic congestion on nearby residential roads.

Ailbhe Malone, a resident on Alexandra Road, said a large chain like Waitrose could damage the local businesses on Leopold Road such as the butchers and the grocers.

“Local businesses already struggle in the recession, and it’s heartbreaking to think hard-working people could lose their businesses because of Waitrose,” she said.

However a Waitrose spokesman defended the planned location of the site.

“While we recognise the importance of maintaining a vibrant town centre, it’s important that other opportunities to invest in other areas of Wimbledon are also encouraged.

“We have always felt that Waitrose and Wimbledon would be a perfect fit.”

Other sites being suggested for the store include the car park in Hartfield Road and the BMW garage on Gladstone Road.

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