BEXLEY councillors have launched a petition calling on Waitrose to reverse their decision and open a store in Sidcup.

News Shopper previously reported how Waitrose controversially pulled out of opening a store in the high street, despite planners drumming up support from homeowners by promising the up-market supermarket.

Now, councillors have instigated a petition calling for the supermarket to change its mind and open the store as soon as possible.

Some have pledged to encourage shoppers in Sidcup high street to show their support and sign the petition.

Bexley Councillor Linda Bailey said: “We were shocked to learn the company had decided to change its plan to open a store in the town centre and it’s clear many people share our disappointment.

“We believe the store would be a great success and will be meeting the company to urge it to change its mind.

“I hope as many local people as possible will support us by signing the petition.”

Planning officers handed planning permission to the development in March.

The initial plans stated the closed Black Horse pub would be replaced by an 84-bedroom Travelodge, a commercial unit and the Waitrose supermarket.

Many hesitant homeowners backed the development because of Waitrose.

Commenting on the planning application, one wrote: “Something needs to be done to revitalise the high street and with the possibility of a quality retailer such as Waitrose showing interest that can only be good and may lead to some regeneration.”

Another commented: “After 13 years of living in Sidcup, we’re finally going to have a decent retailer.”

When questioned about the reasons behind the U-turn last week, a Waitrose spokesman said: “We’re sadly no longer confident we’d be able to make our planned involvement commercially viable in the long-term.

“We didn’t want to put at risk the jobs of those people we’d employ and are therefore marketing the lease of the unit.”

Councillors will meet with representatives from Waitrose later this month.

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