25th March 2024

Malmesbury Town Council Victorious.

You’ve heard of the The 39 Steps? Well this is the tale of Malmesbury’s Waitrose steps! And Malmesbury Town Council celebrates victory as Waitrose steps finally reopen!

A flight of steps designed for use by shoppers at Malmesbury’s Waitrose has, at long last, undergone repair. They’re now re-open after a long-running campaign by the town council.

Councillors put pressure on the supermarket to reopen the steps. The point of them being to allow shoppers to exit the supermarket car park on foot and reach the bottom of Malmesbury High Street. Thus giving easy access to the town centre.

Malmesbury Town Council Victorious - Steps reopen at Waitrose in Malmesbury. Mayor Cllr Gavin Grant and Waitrose partner Debbie Barnes with, from left, Edward and Janice James, Cllr Kim Power, Deputy Mayor Phil Exton and Cllr Campbell Ritchie.
Malmesbury Town Council Victorious
Steps reopen at Waitrose in Malmesbury. Mayor Cllr Gavin Grant and Waitrose partner Debbie Barnes with, from left, Edward and Janice James, Cllr Kim Power, Deputy Mayor Phil Exton and Cllr Campbell Ritchie.

Unsafe

Deemed unsafe, the steps have remained closed, barely without a break, since 2017. Despite this, some people were putting themselves at risk by trying to use them. Or even scrambling down the grassy bank to reach the High Street below.

Malmesbury Mayor Cllr Gavin Grant expressed delight that Waitrose had finally come good on its promise to repair the steps, and reopen them to shoppers.

‘Installed on a promise to Malmesbury to help our High Street, they’ve sat closed for the best part of seven years, following a failed safety inspection.

The John Lewis Partnership promised to repair them. But last year said their plan had changed and they were going to remove them altogether. That was unacceptable and would have broken their promise to Malmesbury.

Malmesbury residents Janice and Edward James, regular Waitrose shoppers who use the steps, said the reopening was ‘great news and a long time coming’.

Cllr Kim Power, who’s been liaising with Waitrose, added: ‘The steps are great for residents on foot. And also for those who wish to park there and after shopping at Waitrose, walk into town for other shops.

‘Yes, it’s been a long and often frustrating process with the property side of the company after the steps fell into such disrepair. Yet, we’ve always had an excellent relationship with our local Waitrose branch partners, many of whom are Malmesbury residents. They have been, and are, supportive of local charities and initiatives. And, along with our other supermarkets and smaller retailers, continue to provide a fantastic range of options for shopping in the town.’



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