Waitrose in ‘advanced talks’ with new Cornish Food Hall partner
Waitrose has confirmed it has dropped the Taste of Cornwall consortium of local farmers and food producers as its partner for the controversial Truro Food Hall and is in “advanced talks” with a third party.
A spokesman from the retailer told FFD that after “careful consideration” it had decided a business plan submitted by another party offered the new food hall the “best long- term future”.
“We are saddened that we have not been able to deliver our original aspirations with Taste of Cornwall (ToC), however we are confident that the new food hall will offer considerable benefits to Cornish food producers,” he said.
Waitrose is expected to reveal the name of its new partner next week.
The plan to develop a local food showcase in Truro alongside a new 15,000 sq ft Waitrose in the Truro Eastern District Centre Development was originally devised as a partnership between the retailer, Cornwall Council, land-owner the Duchy of Cornwall and ToC – a group of farmers, growers and food producers.
Despite delays and controversy over the plans, the project hit a major roadblock in September when Waitrose cast doubt on ToC’s ability to deliver the project, claiming “key milestones” had been missed.
It said Taste of Cornwall had been unable to provide a business plan that could establish the long-term management and commercial strategy of the unit or justify the agreed funding required from Waitrose.
Fine Food Digest understands that Waitrose introduced a second café into the plans for the site, which would have breached of an earlier understanding with ToC.
Although Taste of Cornwall declined to comment, local businessman and ToC spokesman Philip Warren said he was glad that a Cornish Food Hall was to go ahead, despite the disappointment that ToC was not involved.
“From a Cornish point of view, I’m glad to see the Food Hall and I’m 100% behind it, so long as it is run by a Cornish company,” he added.