TWO SUPERMARKET giants are in a race to open a store in Oakham.
Waitrose has this week announced it is drawing up plans for a store which would create 120 jobs.
It wants to build the store where Rutland County College is in Barleythorpe Road. The college is planning to move to Barleythorpe by 2012.
Sainsbury’s is one step ahead as it has already submitted plans to Rutland County Council for a supermarket and petrol station in nearby Burley Park Way.
Waitrose director of development Nigel Keen said: “Waitrose has a long-standing ambition to open a store in Oakham and firmly believe the Barleythorpe Road site offers us the perfect platform to meet the need for a new supermarket, which has been identified by the local authority.
“Whilst we would not be able to pursue the scheme if Sainsbury’s plans are given the go ahead, we believe it is important that people in Oakham have a choice and the opportunity to consider both proposals alongside each other.”
The Waitrose plans are half the size of the proposed 30,000 sq ft Sainsbury’s supermarket.
The Sainsbury’s store would create 300 new jobs and a four-pump petrol station.
Mr Keen added: “We are continuing to develop plans for a food-focused store which is appropriate in scale and will deliver substantial benefits without compromising the existing choice of shopping facilities in the town centre.”
Rutland County College was taken over by
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Casterton Business and Enterprise College in September and will move to a new site in Barleythorpe in 2012 when the lease owned by Tresham College of Further and Higher Education runs out.
Tresham had already agreed to hand over some of the money made from the sale to invest in local education.
Mark Silverman, principal of Tresham College of Further and Higher Education, said: “This is an excellent proposal that will enable us to re-invest in post-16 education in Oakham and the local area.”
The Lindum Group has been working with Tresham to develop the site once the college closes. It has agreed a deal with Waitrose to open a store there, should planning permission be given.
Lindum Group director Chris Callaghan said: “We have been working with Tresham College for a considerable time to bring forward this site as a commercially viable development while simultaneously offering something that satisfies the local community’s needs.”
Waitrose plans to hold a public consultation into its plans in Oakham in the new year and will submit its application soon after.
Sainsbury’s has already submitted its plans to Rutland County Council.
A spokesman for the council said: “
Tesco in South Street, Oakham, has just been given planing permission to double the size of its store creating 100 new jobs.