Duchy of Cornwall working with Waitrose to open store
WAITROSE has confirmed it hopes to open a supermarket in Truro as part of a "unique and innovative" scheme to boost Cornish farmers and food producers.
The supermarket, which currently has only one store in the county in Saltash, is working with the Duchy of Cornwall on the project proposed for their land on Union Hill.
In February the West Briton exclusively revealed the land, which is part of Prince Charles' estate, has also been pinpointed by Cornwall Council for an eastern park and ride in the city.
Pitched as "sustainable" from all parties involved, the project could include space for producers to make food as well as a centre where it would be sold alongside a Waitrose store. An education and demonstration centre have also been discussed as possibilities for the site.
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The plans, which also include affordable homes, allotments and a household waste recycling centre are due to be revealed in June at a 'design workshop event' which will collect public opinions on the scheme.
James Armstrong, from Waitrose, said it was "exploring opportunity" to be involved with the development.
He continued: "In addition to bringing the Waitrose offer to Truro for the first time, (the proposal) will enable us to increase the number of existing Cornish producers that already supply our stores."
Waitrose agreed a deal with Prince Charles' struggling Duchy Originals food company last year, giving the supermarket exclusive rights to manufacture, distribute and sell its products in the UK.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for planning and transportation, Cllr Graeme Hicks, said the "exciting possibility" of combining several ideas in one place was "at an early stage".
"This single site has the potential to address so many of Truro's and Cornwall's needs in a way which is sustainable and can provide the benchmark for development in all of our towns," he said.
The plans were revealed by council officers at a community network meeting in February, when councillors said the Duchy was 'exploiting' Truro by offering land for a park and ride in return for a supermarket.
Cllr Hicks said: "Unfortunately some negative comments have already been made before we have had a chance to explore the value of a full range of uses on the site, including suggestions that the Duchy is seeking to impose certain types of development in return for making its land available, which is simply untrue.
"I think it is important not to pre-judge the outcome of this important workshop given that we are at such an early stage in the development of the design of the scheme."