Hopes new Waitrose will have positive effect on Keynsham community
Published on: 07 Dec 2013
News that Waitrose will be moving to Keynsham next year has been met with relief by staff currently employed by the town’s Co-op and excitement from fans of the upmarket brand.
But any homeowners hoping to benefit from the so-called "Waitrose Effect" – where proximity to a store is said to push up house prices – might be disappointed, according to a local estate agent.
David Westgate, managing director of Andrews and a Keynsham resident, said he feels the new supermarket won't directly affect house prices – but there could be benefits for the community as a whole.
He said: “I do not believe that the appearance of a new Waitrose will have any direct impact on house prices in Keynsham. It is, however, true to say that better quality high street brands do have an effect on the general prosperity of a community as they will attract associated consumers who will spend money in the town.
“In my view, the overall growth of key developments in Keynsham, including the town centre and Cadbury’s will attract more investment into the town and bring more consumers and more prosperity. It is vital that the High Street is kept alive and that the new occupiers of the retail units are quality retailers to further enhance the town.
“Keynsham has a fantastic community, it is a very attractive place to live and work, ideally located between two major cities and improved shops can only enhance that. I believe that over time house prices will steadily grow in Keynsham as people decide to locate here, perhaps moving from Bath or Bristol to live in a community that has everything to offer.”
The Co-op will continue to trade until February 27, 2014, before the store is closed for around three weeks to allow for refitting and training for the existing 84 staff, who are all being kept on by Waitrose.
One Co-op employee told Keynshamvoice that news of the deal, delivered in a staff briefing, had come as a “great relief” to those working at the store after a worrying time. She added: “Waitrose should bring lots of needed custom and jobs so we are excited.”
Waitrose's director of development Nigel Keen said: “We have wanted to open a shop in Keynsham for a long time and we are looking forward to becoming part of the community next year and welcoming new employees to Waitrose and the John Lewis Partnership.”
A spokesperson for Co-op said: “We are pleased to have concluded a deal which ensures employment for the staff, as well as a continuing service for the local community in which the store is based.”