The Retail Assessment in the planning application has the following (about the Bircherley Green Redevelopment):"Waitrose have considered this scheme and considers the scheme neither viable nor deliverable for them"
There is also a letter from Waitrose in Appendix F setting out in detail many reasons why the Hertford scheme isn't viable. From that it looks fairly conclusive.
This is the full extract from the report (not the letter) as it contains other interesting bits:1.22 Waitrose have an existing store within Bircherley Green Shopping Centre in Hertford town
centre. The store consists of approximately 1,143sqm sales floorspace and 1,300sqm back
of house floorspace which is split over two levels. This equates to about half the size of the
proposed development at Van Hage.
1.23 The site is particularly constrained and is not suited to Waitrose’s further requirements. The
store is bordered on the north by River Lea, the east by Hertford bus station and the south
and west by existing shopping centre external pedestrian precinct. Waitrose has therefore
been actively looking for alternative sites to provide a better offer for residents of
surrounding communities for it is understood over 10 years. The lease on its Hertford store
expires in 2016.
1.24 We are aware of the plans which have been produced by Wrenbridge (Appendix E), the
centres development partner, which shows an option plan for the site. This plan
encompasses the existing shopping centre including the bus station and to redevelop it for a
foodstore and three smaller retail units. Waitrose have considered this scheme and
considers the scheme neither viable nor deliverable for them. This is discussed in greater
detail in the sequential assessment section of this report. A letter has been provided by
Waitrose which outlines their views on the proposed development. A copy of this letter can
be found at Appendix F.
1.25 Waitrose are however exploring the viability to retain a presence in Hertford. Given
Wrenbridge’s scheme that has been drawn up and the work carried out on the viability we
understand that there is confidence in the market, and even though Waitrose may not
locate there another operator will. Therefore as part of the assessment we have assumed
that the store will remain trading, whether this will be Waitrose or another retailer.
As outlined within the introduction, we are aware of plans for the redevelopment of the
existing Waitrose store in Hertford town centre, including adjoining retail units and the
adjacent bus station. This scheme has been considered by Waitrose and a critique of this
scheme can be found below:
Substantial site assembly would be required to bring forward the site for development.
This would include the removal of the existing retailers at ground floor of the shopping
The plan would result in the existing Waitrose store being closed for a significant period
of time whilst the redevelopment is undertaken. Waitrose consider the loss of facility
may result in a substantial loss of income during the construction phase.
The bus station would need to be relocated. As well as the challenges of finding an
alternative site, the loss of the facility would have a negative impact on a major footfall
driver in this part of the town.
The store would be split over multiple levels which would result in space being lost to
stairs and lifts. Waitrose’s preference is to have operations on one level.
For the size of store being proposed, Waitrose would require around 250 spaces so
there would be approximately 100 spaces left over for the other retail elements of the
The service yard is too small to meet Waitrose’s requirements for a store of this size.
There may be a risk of flooding in the undercroft car park next to the river.
3.13 Furthermore, the realistic timeframe for this development would be 5 – 10 years given that
a new location for the bus station would have to be found and relocated prior to the
development on site commencing. The site would not be brought forward in the short to
3.14 Further detail on the limitations of further expansion of the existing store in Hertford can be
found within the Design and Access Statement.
3.15 As demonstrated above the proposes scheme is not suitable or a viable option for Waitrose.
However given the proposals being promoted by the owner it is considered that the existing
store will be re-occupied in part or in full.http://online.eastherts.gov.uk/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=3/14/1708/FP&theTabNo=3