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Boris Johnson shows support for Waitrose in Sidcup
THE Mayor of London Boris Johnson has thrown his support behind campaigners calling on Waitrose to reverse its decision to scrap plans to open in Sidcup.
Mr Johnson has written to the managing director of Waitrose, Mark Price, expressing his desire to see a store open as planned.
Last year he invested £1.8m as part of the Outer London Fund to kick start the regeneration of Sidcup High Street.
Mr Johnson allocated the cash hoping it would “transform the high street, support new business opportunities, improve investor confidence and encourage local participation in the area."
In his letter to Mr Price regarding Waitrose decision to pull out, the mayor wrote: “While I understand any decision you take will be a commercial one, I wanted to take the opportunity to express my strong desire to see this development take place as part of my efforts to reinvigorate London’s high streets to support the broader regeneration of outer London.”
Plans for an 84-bedroom Travelodge, a Waitrose supermarket and a commercial unit were approved by Bexley Council in December for development on the site of the Black Horse pub, which closed in 2007.
The mayor's intervention will encourage Sidcup homeowners, who appeared to have accepted they were misled and that Waitrose would not be coming to town.
Secretary of the Sidcup Community Group Paul Laundy said: “Residents have lost an injection of quality into the high street as well as one of Sidcup’s few remaining historic buildings in one foul swoop.”
Bexley bigwigs - including council leader Councillor Teresa O’Neill - met with Waitrose executives in London on May 18.
In a statement following the meeting, director of property services at Waitrose Nigel Keen said: “We’re keen to come up with a format that’s absolutely right for Sidcup.
“As this process takes time, we have put our scheme on hold in the short term - however we still regard Sidcup as a potential site for a Waitrose and will be staying in touch.”
However the MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup James Brokenshire blasted the firm and said: “As an organisation which prides itself on its strong community relations, Waitrose should reflect on the strong views of Sidcup residents and put their plans back on track.”
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