Community leaders were this morning unveiling Malmesbury’s new Waitrose supermarket in the belief that it will lure more shoppers to the town centre.

Malmesbury Mayor Sue Poole was among officials at the opening ceremony at 8am.

She said: “We are delighted to welcome Waitrose into the town. We are sure it will attract more shoppers into the High Street as well as to the store.”

Also set to take part in the ribbon cutting were Wiltshire’s Volunteer of the Year Miriam Nicholls and Major Mick Moreton, Second in Command, 9 Regiment, representing the Royal Logistic Corps.

Waitrose Malmesbury will be run by a team of more than 150 ‘partners,’ as the company calls its employees.

At the end of each month the firm will donate £1,000 to be divided between three charities nominated by customers.

The first three charities to benefit will be the Dorothy House Hospice, DEVELOP which develops and enhances voluntary and community action, and military charity SSAFA.

The store is also launching its Partner Volunteering initiative, which will see 250 work hours a year donated to local projects and causes.

Branch manager Fiona Orwin said: “Malmesbury is a town rich in character, celebrated for its attractive town centre. We can’t wait to open our doors and play our part, alongside the great collection of retailers already on the high street”

Meanwhile, residents from Avon Mills, which adjoins the supermarket, are awaiting a decision from the Ombudsman after seeking compensation from planning authority Wiltshire Council.

They argue that officers failed to protect the 33 households in Avon Mills, including three Grade II listed buildings, from the effects of the Waitrose store.

Home owner Caroline Moore said: “The Ombudsman is taking this matter very seriously.”

They allege that the council was unduly biased when it granted the application and did not take enough notice of objections from English Heritage and its own in-house specialist advisers.

They claim the store will have an adverse effect on noise, disturbance and loss of privacy, and will be detriment to the setting.