Monday, March 27, 2023

News: Plans for new Rotherham Lidl withdrawn


German global discount chain, Lidl, has withdrawn its plans for a new store in Rotherham.

In 2020 members of the planning board at Rotherham Council voted to refuse plans, despite them being recommended for approval by officers.

The updated plans, submitted in April 2022, were very similar to those previously submitted. They included a new 20,000 sq ft store on a site at Rotherham Road, Swallownest which would involve the demolition of the Christ Church building and, at the rear of the site, new changing rooms and a new additional sports pitch at the existing Miners Welfare Society.

Lidl's plans were for a build a new store to the latest specification with a 13,500 sq ft sales area including a bakery, longer-style tills with dual packing and customer toilets. 40 full time and part time job opportunities would be created if proposals are approved.

Rotherham Council's planning board voted nine to two to refuse the 2020 application. The detrimental impact on the Swallownest district centre was the main reason for refusal with councillors questioning that enough people using the Lidl would also make a link trip to the centre. Lidl's site is deemed "edge of centre" in planning terms.

Lidl, which has a store target of 1,100 stores in the UK by the end of 2025, was hoping that the opening of a new Aldi nearby would improve their chances of gaining approval, arguing that the new Aldi at Fence had diverted trade away from the existing Swallownest shops and a Lidl would divert "a significant proportion of trade" back from the Aldi at Swallow Wood Road instead of the Co-op.

Instead, Aldi joined hundreds objecting to the plans, with many comments on the application also supporting the development.

Mark Stringer, property director at Aldi, said: "We cannot see that there has been any change in circumstances that would warrant the Local Authority coming to a different decision other than the fact that the need for choice and competition has already been satisfied through the opening of the ALDI store. There have been no obvious amendments to the application or any changes to National or Local Planning Policies that would tip the planning balance in favour of the application proposals.

"The applicant does not appear to address the previous reason for refusal ... there has been no evidence provided to demonstrate how Members concerns have been addressed through the resubmission."

The Lidl application was withdrawn last week.

Last year, Lidl secured planning permission for a new store on the site of a former fire station and library in Maltby.

Lidl website

Images: Lidl


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