Mole Valley MP, Sir Paul Beresford has unveiled Leatherhead’s new Waitrose store.
Sir Paul, who welcomed the first customers before meeting members of the store team, said: “I am delighted Waitrose has invested in Leatherhead. In doing so Waitrose has shown a vote for Leatherhead. “Mole Valley District Council are embarking on an ambitious plan to renovate Leatherhead and the opening of this store is a great start.” Waitrose Leatherhead store manager, Catherine Robertson-Pugh, added: “These are exciting times for Leatherhead and we are incredibly proud to be adding to the investment being made here.
“The improvements to Church Street later this year will further enhance the area and really make the most of the outdoor space. The scheme will create a real sense of theatre with an atmosphere that will really encourage people to visit the high street. “Waitrose is only one piece of the jigsaw, but we will be working hard to ensure the service we provide from this fantastic new shop helps the town centre thrive in what looks to be a very bright future.”
The Church Road store has created 50 new jobs after more than 300 applications were received in just a couple of weeks for the new roles. All new employees have become members of the John Lewis Partnership, the UK’s oldest and largest example of employee ownership. This entitles them to exclusive benefits, including leisure and learning subsidies, shopping discounts and a share in profits in the form of an annual bonus, which ensures a proportion of profits remains in the local community.
Waitrose has also launched two community-focused initiatives to support local charities and projects in the area. Its Partner Volunteering programme will provide 100 staff working hours each year and its Community Matters ‘green token’ scheme will see £500 shared between three causes every month.
The 1st Fetcham Scout Group, who are raising funds for a new Scout hut, the Leatherhead Riding for the Disabled Association and the Leatherhead Youth Project, who support young people by using counselling, are the first three causes to receive support through the scheme.