The redevelopment of a former JCB factory in the centre of Uttoxeter today took a giant leap forward with news that Waitrose is planning a new store on part of the site creating up to 180 new jobs.
JCB has agreed in principle to sell approximately two acres of the 22 acre site to enable the retailer to open what would be its third store in Staffordshire, subject to being granted final detailed planning consent. It is planned that the new 30,000 ft² supermarket – which will have car parking for 180 vehicles – could open in time for Christmas 2015.
JCB Chairman Lord Bamford said: “The proposed Waitrose store is a major step forward in the redevelopment of the former JCB Heavy Products site. It will act as a catalyst for the implementation of the wider development which will include a park and high quality housing.
“It is and always has been my intention that this development leaves a legacy to Uttoxeter given my family’s long association with the town and this site in particular. While recent economic circumstances mean it has taken longer to advance than I would have liked, I’m delighted that the scheme is now moving forward in a way that will eventually contribute to the wider renaissance of Uttoxeter.”
The new store would be built on stilts with car parking underneath. There would also be surface level car parking at the rear along with a service area.
Waitrose Director of Development Nigel Keen said: “It’s a great opportunity for two of the UK’s most established businesses to work alongside each other and revitalise such an important site with so much history in the town. We look forward to developing our plans which would bring new investment, including the creation of a significant number of jobs and deliver a first class food store providing our full offer.”
Production at the old Heavy Products site finished in 2008 and the factory relocated to a new £40 million site next to the A50 in Uttoxeter. Lord Bamford is taking a personal involvement in the plans and instigated a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) design contest to ensure the redevelopment is of “the highest possible standard.”
London-based McDowell + Benedetti was selected as the winner of the competition and drew up plans for the 22-acre site which include housing, retail and commercial. There will be 257 new houses built on the site – including large villas, detached properties and town houses – and it is hoped that construction work on some of the properties will begin later this year.
News of the proposed new Waitrose, would also see the plans move ahead on the restoration of the natural beauty of Picknall Brook, which passes through the site. A key part of the development is to naturalise the current industrial appearance of Picknall Brook which flows around the edge of the site.
It will see the course of the brook realigned, the creation of a pond area to encourage more diverse wildlife species, removal of concrete beds and replacement with more natural materials, along with the creation of steep banks to encourage breeding of water voles, the replacement of weirs with riffles and gravel barriers and the creation of shallow depths to encourage aquatic life.
The Bamford family has links with Uttoxeter stretching back nearly 200 years. Lord Bamford’s family started out in business as blacksmiths in the town in the 1820s. The Pinfold Street site has been linked to manufacturing from as early as 1871 when the agricultural machinery makers Bamfords opened for business.