Thursday, 23rd October 2014

Frustration over halted Aldi plan

Mystery surrounds a planned Aldi supermarket in Whitchurch, which has still not opened for business about two years after it was granted planning permission.

Residents and councillors today said they were baffled why the discount retailer has yet to begin work on the new store on land at Meadow View, Waymills.

One resident, who asked not to be named, has branded the empty site an ‘eyesore’ and said he felt ‘let down’ by the firm after many people in the town supported the plans.

Aldi promised to create up to 20 jobs, but nobody was available for comment at the time the Chronicle went to press.

The company won planning permission from Shropshire Council in 2010 following a wrangle which saw both sides lock horns at a public inquiry the previous year, which Aldi won.

The inquiry came about as a result of the former North Shropshire District Council controversially throwing out Aldi’s bid.

In refusing the application, NSDC’s planning committee went against officers’ recommendations and public support for the shop. Residents are now raising fresh questions over what is happening with the development.

A Whitchurch resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “The site is an eyesore. Derelict land next to a modern Homebase does not look good.

“I am not aware of any activity since land was fenced off but it is safe.

“I personally feel let down, like a number of other people I know who actively supported the application. We feel frustrated as we want the store still. It gives people added choice and a reason to come to Whitchurch.”

Councillor Rob Hewson, of Whitchurch Town Council, said: “A lot of people wanted it but I have heard nothing about when work is due to begin.”

In 2010 the company said it was still working on plans with the local council, with a view to starting work on the site last year.

Aldi’s bid comes at a time when two supermarket giants have unveiled plans to create new stores in the town.

Tesco has submitted plans to expand and relocate to Edgeley Park and develop its White Lion Meadow store, while Sainsbury’s has won permission to build a new store off London Road. Last summer Aldi bosses added their name to the list of objectors opposing Tesco’s plans through comments made by agents Higham & Co over loss of countryside.