New Chorlton Lidl plans knocked back over road safety concerns

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Plans for the new supermarket in Chorlton divided opinion locally.

A new Lidl planned near a ‘busy and dangerous’ junction in South Manchester has been knocked back at the town hall. Plans for the new supermarket in Chorlton which have divided opinion locally have been rejected by councillors.

Manchester city council’s planning committee has asked for more road safety measures to be put in place before the proposal is put to another vote. But, councillors on the committee approved three other applications which were also knocked back at a mammoth three-and-a-half-hour meeting last month.

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This includes giving the go ahead to a retirement living complex in Didsbury which was thrown out by the council and dismissed at an appeal last year.  New courts at a tennis club in Didsbury were also approved despite noise concerns.

And plans to refurbish and build new student halls in Ardwick were given the green light after the number of disabled parking spaces was doubled. But the committee was not convinced that the plans for a new Lidl should go ahead.

It comes after headteachers at two of the five schools which surround the junction of Nell Lane and Mauldeth Road objected to the application. They raised concerns about road safety citing two car accidents involving their students and reporting regular ‘near misses’ at drop-off and pick-up times.

Lidl made several changes to the plans to address road safety concerns such as providing more cycling spaces – including for cargo bikes – and proposing to put safety bollards on Nell Lane. But they did not agree to all of the demands from local councillors which includes contributing to school crossing patrols.

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The committee visited the site before the meeting. However, traffic was not typical for the morning peak due to a national teacher’s strike taking place.

Local resident Julie Froud told the committee on Thursday (March 16) that this land – which is home to an empty office building last used as a temporary site for a school – is ‘wholly inappropriate’ for a large supermarket. She said: “This is a highly problematic location positioned at a busy and dangerous junction.”

Labour councillors representing Chorlton Park said the decision is ‘extremely difficult’ because they support a more affordable supermarket opening in the area. But they said they are ‘highly anxious’ about its impact on the junction.

Council officers said that a safety audit was carried out and highways officers were satisfied with the proposal. But councillors were not convinced and the committee voted against the application on the grounds of highways safety.

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However, the committee approved the other three applications on the agenda which were for a retirement living complex at Jessiefield in Spath Road, two new padel tennis courts at The Northern in Didsbury and redeveloping former student accommodation at St Gabriel’s Halls to create 319 bedrooms in total.

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