Thursday, April 25, 2019

News: Here's where Lidl wants to build its next Rotherham store and it involves demolishing a church

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A planning application has been submitted for a new retail foodstore in Rotherham by German global discount chain, Lidl, a year on from its last proposal in the borough.

Lidl was founded in Germany in the 1930's and has grown consistently, now operating over 10,000 stores in 27 countries. Launching in the UK in September 1994, Lidl today has 760 stores and 13 warehouses in England, Scotland and Wales, with plans to open a further 50 new stores this year.

Lidl already operates on the edge of Rotherham town centre and a new store is due to open soon in Dalton.

Plans have now been submitted for a new 20,000 sq ft store on a site at Rotherham Road, Swallownest that would involve the demolition of the Christ Church building and, at the rear of the site, improvements to changing rooms and playing pitches at the existing Miners Welfare Society.

The plans, drawn up by HTC Architects, show the store positioned on the site towards the north east corner with an active frontage including extensive glazed elements along Rotherham Road. 98 car parking spaces have been proposed for the retail scheme.

The new Lidl food store would create up to 40 employment opportunities.

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Rival chain Aldi, has secured planning permission for a store at nearby Fence but only an access road has been created.

Lidl's site, which is close to Swallownest Primary School, was allocated for community use, greenspace and green belt in the Council's local plan.

The application adds that community facilities will be improved and that the church will use proceeds from the sale to invest in partner churches at Ulley and Aston.

The applicants have also included a sequential assessment and an assessment of retail impact. Sequential tests ensure that development is located in the most sustainable location first (usually in town centres), before other, less sustainable locations are chosen.

The assessments conclude that there are no available sites within the Swallownest District Centre and that "the proposal would achieve the aim of enhancing consumer choice in the area, as well as reducing leakage of expenditure out of the area. There would not be a significant adverse impact on the centre."

There has been significant concern raised by the community about the proposed developments impact on the existing road network, particularly Rotherham Road. The Transport Assessment included with the plans considered that the existing road network would not see a significant increase in vehicle movements and the proposed development will not have a detrimental impact on the number or severity of accidents in the area.

Lidl have already stated that they are happy for parents to use their car park when dropping off and collecting pupils from the nearby school as long as they are within the maximum stay time of 90 minutes.

Rotherham Council will now need to decide if any adverse impacts would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of granting planning permission.

Lidl website

Images: Lidl / HTC Architects

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