Waitrose plan delayed due to £500,000 contamination clean-up

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PLANS to build a supermarket and hotel complex near the Waterside Theatre have been delayed by more than six months as a result of contaminated land.

Waitrose and Travelodge were originally due to move on to the Exchange Street site in July to September 2012 as part of the controversial £18 million project, but these works have had to be put back until early 2013 until a clean-up of the site is complete – estimated to cost Aylesbury Vale District Council around £500,000.

The council says it was aware of the contamination when contracts with the firms were agreed up to two years ago, however complications with the Environment Agency’s requirements have caused the project to be put back.

Major projects programme manager at the council, Nigel Brookes, said the contamination at the site is a result of an coal-fired power station and an oil depot, both of which were once operated from the site.

“It has taken a while to get the Environment Agency to agree to a remediation strategy which will be sure to protect the surrounding environment and the water at Bearbrook,” said Mr Brookes.

“The remediation has taken longer than we expected, but it is not something we have wanted to rush as we need to ensure the contamination is removed fully and properly.”

He added that while the process prior to the decontamination has taken a while to get through, the clean-up works now being carried out over the next couple of weeks are the beginning of the overall site works.