SHOPPERS showed their pleasure at the new Waitrose store in Wichelstowe, which officially opened yesterday four months after work began.

There were queues outside the doors of the Mill Lane outlet before the grand opening of the store, with many shoppers impressed by the eco-friendly design, extra-wide parking bays and picturesque setting.

The store was officially opened by Robert Buckland, MP for South Swindon, at 8am, with the store full to the brim with products which took five days of back-to-back, 30-person shifts to install.

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At the bakery, with Jamie Reynolds, Molly Groves and Alice Clarke

Among those to sample the new supermarket was Steve Wilson, a telecoms project manager from North Swindon. He said: “It’s a very good, pleasant experience shopping here.

“They seem to have got all of their price-matching sorted too.

“We spoke to the architect of the building and he said how eco-friendly it all was.

I am impressed with how quickly they got it all together and how many contractors they had working on it.

“The staff were helpful and they all seem to enjoy working there.

“I have friends in Cirencester, so I would usually go and use the Waitrose there.

“But it’s great to see a new shop opening here.

“It demonstrates growth in the area.

“I think this will encourage people to live in the new developments around here. It is a pull factor.”

The new branch features meat, fish and cheese counters, as well as a cafe, bakery and fresh juice bar.

Customers are also be able to enjoy a range of dining areas throughout the store, each offering different culinary delights, including salads, baguettes and deli platters.


At the bakery, with Jamie Reynolds, Molly Groves and Alice Clarke

Ronald Byford, of Toothill, said: “I occasionally used to use Waitrose in Cirencester and Marlborough, so I was interested to check out our new local store.

“It’s a attractive building and having the canal so close really sets a beautiful scene.”

Fiona Franks, of Rushy Platt, said: “I do wonder whether the car park’s going to be big enough.

“At Christmas time it will get busy and they could struggle for space.

“I wish they had some self-service checkouts. I only had a few items and had to wait to be served.”

Waitrose will be supporting the Wilts Canal Trust, Commonweal School and the East Wichel Community Association, as the first local causes to benefit from its Community Matters green token scheme.

At the end of the month, £1,000 will be divided between the three charities according to the number of tokens received.