Supermarket chain Waitrose has scotched rumours of
imminent plans to establish
its brand in Northern
Speculation had been mounting that the company was looking at sites in the Province, including sites in the Lisburn area.
However, a spokesperson for the company said recent media stories had been “rather speculative”.
He added: “We’ve always held long-term aspirations to bring Waitrose to Northern Ireland but we don’t have any further plans at the moment.”
It is believed that Waitrose were considering opening a store in the Lisburn area, however, planning issues with their parent company John Lewis appear to have put any immediate plans on hold, at least for the time being.
Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson, who has been in discussions with Waitrose about establishing their first store in Lisburn, said: “In my discussions with Waitrose at the most senior levels, they have expressed a keen interest in opening stores in Northern Ireland.
“Whilst they have no plans in the short term, we are exploring the potential for locating a Waitrose store in Lisburn City Centre as part of the overall plans for the John Lewis Partnership to open a major store and distribution centre at Sprucefield.
“If this were to happen, the connectivity between John Lewis and Waitrose could attract many shoppers back into Lisburn City Centre and give it the boost that is so greatly needed.”
It has become notoriously difficult for supermarkets to get a foothold in the Lisburn area, with planning permission becoming increasingly difficult to obtain.
Lidl, which currently has a branch on the Moira Road in Lisburn, fought a long campaign for many years to secure planning permission for their site on the Prince William Road.
Asda are also in the process of attempting to secure planning permission to set up their first Lisburn store on the site of the former Down Royal bar on the Ballinderry Road.
However, it is understood that this company has also faced rejection and delays in the planning process.
What do you think? Would Lisburn benefit from a Waitrose store?
Email your views to email@example.com or contact us via our Facebook page.