A SUPERMARKET will be changing hands from a Co-operative to a Waitrose, to the delight of residents and councillors.
Waitrose has announced that it will take over The Co-operative shop at the Locks Heath Shopping Village.
The announcement has pleased councillors who earlier this year told the Co-op to ‘shape up or ship out’.
Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Councillor Sean Woodward, welcomed the news.
Cllr Woodward said: ‘I’m pleased to welcome Waitrose to the borough.
‘The new store will help meet the shopping needs of our residents in the Western Wards and be a welcome investment in the Locks Heath Shopping Village.’
He added: ‘It will be a feather in the cap for the borough of Fareham.’
The move will also mean the renovation plans for the shopping village may take on a different twist, meaning that a planned Morrisons supermarket may not go ahead as previously planned.
All 122 employees at the Co-op will be offered the opportunity to transfer over to the new Waitrose store, when it takes over in February.
The Co-op branch will close on February 20 for approximately five weeks to allow Waitrose to refurbish it.
Waitrose will be launching its Community Matters and Partner Volunteering schemes in Locks Heath, which will see £12,000 and 250 hours donated to local causes nominated by customers each year.
Nigel Keen, director of development at Waitrose, said: ‘We have wanted to open a shop in Locks Heath for a long time and are looking forward to becoming part of the local community next year and welcoming the new employees to Waitrose and the John Lewis Partnership.’
Fareham Borough Council has welcomed today’s announcement from Waitrose that they have reached an agreement with The Co-operative Group to acquire its shop at the Locks Heath Shopping Village.
Locks Heath resident Clive Atton, 53, said: ‘I am pleased to hear that it is not a Tesco’s because Waitrose are more concerned about the surrounding area and the community.
‘I do like the Co-op but nevertheless Waitrose is a good thing.
‘I will be shopping there as I prefer going there than out of town.’