GENERATIONS of Tunbridge Wellians have been waiting for the day they can finally stop driving off to Crowborough or Tonbridge in order to get their Waitrose groceries.
The wait is almost over, after Shell announced their ‘little Waitrose’ store, which is being built as part of their St John’s Road petrol station redevelopment, will finally open on August 17.
It will be marked by a ribbon-cutting, attended by the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, Cllr Len Horwood, and Shell Retail and Alliance Strategy Manager Ed Hall.
To celebrate the opening, the first 1,000 customers who make a purchase in the new store will receive a free Waitrose branded hessian bag.
Work began on the project in March, with the demolition of the former petrol station on the site. At the time a sign claimed it would be reopened ‘with a Waitrose branch’ on June 15.
Shell initially denied this would be the case, but then clarified that Waitrose-branded food would be stocked in its shop, albeit without the grocer’s branding visible on the building.
‘Waitrose has reached a supply agreement with Shell for its St John’s Road forecourt store in Tunbridge Wells,’ said a Waitrose spokesperson at the time.
‘The retailer will provide around 600 products in a dedicated section of the existing Shell site, which will comprise around two thirds from its own label ranges with the remainder consisting of some of its most popular brands.’
Those hoping for a more solid presence in Tunbridge Wells will be left disappointed.
Years of speculation about whether the middle-class institution would finally find a home in the most middle-class of towns have continuously been proven baseless.