Waitrose needs to show town it cares

WORK is underway on carving out a “Little Waitrose” out of the ground floor of the Corn Exchange – and despite the company’s protestations I would not be surprised if we could buy their mince pies in Ipswich before Christmas!

However both the company and the borough need to build a few bridges with Corn Exchange users over the next few months – many are still feeling a bit raw over the way the decision to develop the store was reached.

Regular readers of this column will know that I have had serious doubts about whether the Corn Exchange was the right place for the supermarket.

I’ve been assured that despite the recession and all the empty shop units in Ipswich, there was nowhere else in the town centre that was the right size and location for a small Waitrose.

However Corn Exchange users, especially the Ipswich Film Theatre Trust, have been left feeling rather bruised .

They have been suspicious about the proposals from day one, and had seized on comments from the borough that disruption “would be kept to a minimum.”

Of course statements like that are fairly meaningless, everyone tries to keep disruption to a minimum. No one wants to maximise disruption!

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In this case the minimum disruption will see the film theatre closed for just over three weeks.

However when it reopens and when Waitrose is up and running the two bodies will be near neighbours and will need to co-operate and work together.

Waitrose is a retailer that prides itself on being a good member of the communities it serves – if the town centre store wants to get off to a flying start in that respect it should offer support to the film theatre.