I am afraid that I must disagree with your headline “Waitrose new store is excellent news for town and traders” (County Times; May 30). Waitrose has provided an ‘anchor’ for Horsham’s Piries Place for many years.
If Waitrose moves out it will undermine the viability of Piries Place and the eastern end of the town centre. Sadly, there is nothing we can do to get Waitrose to stay; they will go where they think that they can make most money.
The developers suggest that people who drive to a new Waitrose will walk across Albion Way into the Bishopric and West Street. I doubt it!
A few might but most will drive to Waitrose (or the adjacent store), get what they came for and then drive away again. If you want to go to a supermarket and also slip into the town centre for a few extra items, Sainsbury’s already fulfills that role and its car park is much better placed for the town centre.
Meanwhile, what will fill the empty store in Piries Place? Do we really want more down-at-heel ‘seconds’ and ends-of-line shops? If only Horsham District Council had the will to get the owners, operators and retailers in Piries Place together and make the car park free for shoppers we might still be able to save Piries Place, perhaps with an enlarged Waitrose.
N. C. FRISWELL