Waitrose

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Re: Waitrose

Postby RichardH » Wed 22 Jul 2015 7:57 am

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Re: Waitrose

Postby Steve » Wed 22 Jul 2015 8:43 am

RichardH wrote:Wonder if there's any connection to this story?

Public and press excluded from East Herts meeting into seven district councillors' conduct

I believe this relates to another matter.
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Re: Waitrose

Postby The Masked Woler » Sat 25 Jul 2015 1:46 pm

Steve wrote:Some simple digging reveals the third party to be Asda, who are claiming that the decision to grant planning permission was based on "material errors of law".


Was I the only one whose irony meter went off the scale at ASDA's point about them not having taken into account the impact on the town centre?

Particularly given the signs they put up on opening set a parking penalty for parking and leaving the site - it was pointed out to them (by the Ware Society) that this was a breach of both their Section 106 agreement with the council and the parking management plan they filed in support of their application. The offending line has now been taped over.
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Re: Waitrose

Postby mb1 » Sat 25 Jul 2015 2:45 pm

Too right Masked WoLer. I also had a chuckle or three about the person in the Mercury from the "please keep waitrose in Hertford even though they can't make money here" campaign who said that ASDA weren't even thinking of the competition from ASDA when they backed this challenge. No, of course they weren't :D :D :D
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Re: Waitrose

Postby Steve » Sat 25 Jul 2015 3:09 pm

mb1 wrote:please keep waitrose in Hertford even though they can't make money here" campaign

When has Waitrose ever said they don't make money in Hertford?
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Re: Waitrose

Postby mb1 » Sat 25 Jul 2015 4:18 pm

Ever since they announced their intention to leave Bircherley Green Waitrose has said over and over again that the space there is too small to be profitable, that it's not economically viable. The Hertford campaign to keep them haschosen to ignore this and focus on trying to stop the move to Gt Amwell.
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Re: Waitrose

Postby Steve » Sat 25 Jul 2015 4:37 pm

mb1 wrote:Ever since they announced their intention to leave Bircherley Green Waitrose has said over and over again that the space there is too small to be profitable, that it's not economically viable. The Hertford campaign to keep them haschosen to ignore this and focus on trying to stop the move to Gt Amwell.

There is no "Hertford campaign" to stop Waitrose leaving Hertford. There is however a campaign to stop an out-of-town supermarket being built on Green Belt land at Great Amwell, contrary to the District Council's own planning policies, the National Planning Policy Framework, and Waitrose's own view on the future of supermarket retailing; and the economic impact on three nearby town centres. This is also the reason for Asda's challenge.

As such, the "Hertford campaign" hasn't ignored the profitability, or otherwise, of the Hertford store because it has no bearing on whether or not planning permission should have been granted for the Great Amwell store.

On the separate matter of the Hertford store, Waitrose have indeed said that the new Bircherley Green store proposed by Wrenbridge is not viable and too small, but they've made no mention of profitability. Nor have they made any mention of the profitability of the existing store.
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Re: Waitrose

Postby Alexander Curtis » Sat 25 Jul 2015 4:50 pm

My opinion on this matter is that Van Hage has every right to develop an A1 retail unit on its site. I understand fully that some of my Hertford counterparts feel very concerned about losing Waitrose from their town centre, and the Hertford councillors leading this petition are well-natured and hard-working individuals who I have great respect for. I also count a number of them as friends, and recognise that they are simply trying to stand up for their town; which is something to be ultimately commended for, and not criticised.

Unfortunately, some of my Ware Town Council colleagues remain blind to the benefits to our town of having a Waitrose food store on the Van Hage site. The whole argument about the impact of a Van Hage site Waitrose food store on Hertford and Ware town centres (and Stanstead Abbotts high street) has always been somewhat flat. The Tesco and Waitrose food stores (and Stanstead Abbotts' Co-op) in Ware and Hertford town centres both cater primarily to the convenience shopping market. I very much doubt that you will find people going to Hertford Waitrose in order to do their weekly food shop for example! I somewhat doubt that people are going to travel all the way over to Van Hage in order to buy a loaf of bread or supplies for lunch (I.e. The style of shopping that Ware Tesco and Hertford Waitrose), and consequently I don't believe that the proposed Waitrose store would be competing significantly with the town centre convenience shopping market in Hertford and Ware. This fact has very much been overlooked by the retail impact assessment reports on the proposed Waitrose development. In fact, regardless of this reality; it is always good to have some more competition for local supermarkets. The opening of the new ASDA in Ware has very much caused Tesco to improve their quality of service, as they no longer have a monopoly on the Ware supermarket market. Many people warned that the opening of the ASDA store in Ware would have a disastrous impact on the small businesses in Ware town centre, and while that is a very important argument to consider; I haven't noticed any negative impact at all on town centre footfall since the opening of ASDA in Ware.

In addition to this, I feel that it is regrettable that some people aren't recognising the enormous contribution that the Van Hage family has made to Ware over many years. Hundreds of jobs have been provided at the Van Hage site, and people visit the garden centre from many miles around; as it is extremely well known and well regarded at both a regional and even a national level. In fact, a number of people only know of Ware due to their visits to Van Hage; and consequently it is vital that Ware Town Council and East Herts District Council do everything possible to support Van Hage's viability as a business on their Amwell Hill site. This is because Van Hage's garden centre helps to put Ware on the map, and ultimately attracts people from other areas to discover our town; which can only be a positive thing for our town centre. If Van Hage feels that the provision of a Waitrose food store on their site would help to both expand their business and keep their operations at Amwell Hill economically sustainable for their company, our local councils should be doing everything possible to facilitate this. The provision of a Waitrose food store at the Van Hage site would provide many new jobs after all, and surely that is something to welcome. Furthermore, the Bircherley Green site that Waitrose intends to vacate is a prime unit for a small convenience supermarket. Consequently, I very much doubt that another company wouldn't want to move in to Waitrose's current Hertford site. This means that there wouldn't be a loss of jobs in Hertford if Waitrose moved in to Amwell Hill either.

Because of this, surely no party loses out significantly if the proposed Waitrose development is enacted? Thankfully, I somewhat doubt that the Secretary of State will call in the application for independent review; as the Conservative government has a very strong localist agenda that puts emphasis on local councils being allowed to make their own decisions on controversial planning applications. Consequently, only a handful of planning applications (I believe that it was around 7 last year nationwide) are called in by the Secretary of State each year across the country. As these aforementioned applications are almost universally major developments that have significant impacts on people living in multiple local authorities, it seems highly improbable that an application as small as this would be one of the few called in. Recently, Waitrose developed a similar out-of-town site in conjunction with Notcutts garden centre on the outskirts of Bagshot, Surrey; therefore the decision to grant planning permission for the Van Hage Waitrose development isn't completely out of tune with the national direction of development management by any means. However, if the application is called in; Ware needs to stand up and make its case if we want to attract new jobs and investment, help put our town on the map more, and support the Van Hage business (which has served our town so well for such a long period of time). I am confident that there are many more people who want this development to happen than those who don't. The issue is though that the majority is being silent, while the minority are the ones being loud and vocal. If the minority continues to be the only loud and vocal group on this matter, they might unfortunately just end up being listened to (if there is no other sound to hear).
Last edited by Alexander Curtis on Mon 27 Jul 2015 9:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Waitrose

Postby Scouter » Sat 25 Jul 2015 6:01 pm

A lot of good points made there Alexander. I use the Asda quite a bit as it's a five minutes walk away, but I'm still using the town and Tesco isn't a tumbleweed shop either.
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Re: Waitrose

Postby JudieT » Sat 25 Jul 2015 6:05 pm

Well said Alexander, I don't understand why there are so many objections to Waitrose opening a store at Van Hages, I think it is a good fit and means that we can still have a 'quality' supermarket within easy reach. It will mean more jobs in the end and will bring more money into the area an I for one would rather support an ethical trader like Waitrose than any of the others.
Unfortunately though, as you say it is those that shout the loudest that do tend to get heard and there does seem to be a lot of nimby's shouting very loudly.
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