Now there’s yet another reason for the residents of Tunbridge Wells to complain about not having a Waitrose in the town.
Living near the upmarket supermarket chain can increase the value of your home by almost £40,000, according to a report by Lloyds Bank.
The ‘Waitrose effect’ adds £38,666 to your house price, while the next highest-value grocers are Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer on £27,000-plus.
Even Iceland can add £20,000 to your property’s market worth, with Lidl, the renowned budget store, chipping in almost £4,000.
Tunbridge Wells residents have long bemoaned the fact that there is no Waitrose in the town. The two elements are viewed by many as a classic ‘match’.
The lack is felt all the more because the neighbouring shopping communities of Tonbridge, Sevenoaks, Crowborough, Paddock Wood and Edenbridge all have one of the ‘posh grocers’.
The recent closure of Morrisons by Tunbridge Wells railway station and the demise of BHS in the town’s central pedestrian precinct are topics where the subject of Waitrose crops up.
The chain was supposed to have been interested in developing the old cinema site on Mount Pleasant before pulling out in 2010.
Keith Radley manages the Crowborough branch of estate agents Wood & Pilcher, which has a Waitrose on its doorstep.
He said: “John Lewis will do their research on an area and if they decide it’s up and coming, they may well choose to put in a Waitrose.
“It is a very good sign for the area. Having a Waitrose is definitely a plus point because it’s always considered a high-end supermarket.”
Yet he does not believe the Waitrose effect would work in Tunbridge Wells, where house prices are already high for other reasons. He said: “I can’t see it adding that sort of value in the town.
“People wouldn’t move to Tunbridge Wells because of a Waitrose, more because of the schools and transport.
“But I’ve got to be careful what I say here because my brother works for Waitrose in Tenterden!”
Mr Radley said the traditional factors that boost house prices are proximity to train stations, especially those with access to London, links to road networks and good schools.
In Crowborough, residents are spoilt for choice because there is a Waitrose and a Lidl within a quarter of a mile of each other.
“We have the best of both worlds here,” said Mr Radley. “I think it’s vital to have a good balance, and people like the choice; they like to shop in both Waitrose and Lidl these days.”
Lloyds Bank examined house prices in postal districts close to major supermarket chains, and discovered that there was an average price hike of £22,000.
Mike Songer, the Mortgage Director at Lloyds Bank, said: “There’s definitely a correlation between the price of your home and whether it’s close to a major supermarket or not.
“Our figures show that the amount added to the value of your home can be even greater if located next to a brand which is perceived as upmarket.”
What each supermarket might add to the price of your house
1 Waitrose £38,666
2 Sainsbury’s £27,939
3 Marks & Spencer £27,182
4 Tesco £22,072
5 Iceland £20,034
6 Co-op £17,904
7 Morrisons £10,558
8 Asda £5,026
9 Lidl £3,926
10 Aldi £1,333