New £5m Aldi to be built in Greater Manchester despite concerns it would ‘harm’ town centre
Some residents said they would not have bought their homes if they had known an Aldi would be put up.
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A controversial new Aldi store will be built in Oldham after being approved despite councillors previously throwing out the plans.
An application to build a new foodstore, along with car parking, and an internal road at land at Broadway Green Business Park in Chadderton, as well as a ‘flexible use’ commercial unit was debated for a second time by the planning committee.
The supermarket had previously applied to the council to build a new hub at the site, but it was rejected earlier this year after councillors said they wanted to hold out for ‘high quality’ jobs on the site.
Planning officer Stephen Gill told the latest meeting that there had been 44 letters of support, and an objection on behalf of Tesco stores against the latest application.
Objector Mike Holliss addressed the committee on behalf of a group of residents on Cavalier Square and Henrietta Court against the ‘harmful’ application.
“The loss of an absolute part of your jewel in the crown site and the harm to Chadderton town centre, it might not be a significant adverse harm, but it’s still a negative,” he said.
Councillor Eddie Moores said that residents had told him they would not have bought their homes if they had been given ‘any indication that such a proposal was to be considered’.
He told the meeting that there were potential problems with noise, lighting, loading and unloading and fumes and odours if the plan was approved.
“The anger and frustration expressed by residents of Cavalier Square and the adjoining streets appear to be justified,” Coun Moores added. “There is little merit in the application.”
However Mr Gill said the change between the previous application and the current was that Aldi believed it had submitted information to explain why it met exceptions to planning policy for the use of the site.
Mr Gill said the site had been marketed for its intended use – industrial, offices, and storage and distribution – over a number of years and only received serious interest from one business, which later withdrew.
The proposed store had also been ‘re-orientated’ by 90 degrees under the current plans so the servicing area would now be ‘shielded’ further away from the properties on Cavalier Square, councillors were told.
An ‘enhanced’ landscaping scheme will also be delivered on the southern boundary, along with an acoustic fence – the details of which would have to be agreed with the council.
“Overall in our view, as with the previous scheme, residential amenity would not form a reasonable basis to refuse this application,” Mr Gill added.
“The development does have some benefits which include job creation, the food store along 40 to 50 full and part-time jobs and I’ve had nothing to the contrary that Aldi would not work with the council to get those jobs to local people.”
The store will be 1,315 sqm in size, with an additional warehouse, staff and office facilities, and built off the new Lydia Becker Way road.
Stuart Parks, property director for Aldi stores, said: “Whilst we acknowledge that a food store may not have been originally envisaged for the application site, the reality is it has been marketed extensively for industrial purposes since 2013 without success.
“The proposal before you represents an ideal solution to this employment site.
“The overall investment value of the project will be over £5 million. The scheme is deliverable, if Aldi is granted planning permission today, our aim is to have the food store open and trading for customers within 18 months.
“The past eight years of unsuccessful marketing efforts offer no guarantee that an industrial scheme will ever come to fruition on the site.”
He added the Aldi store would become a ‘focal point’ on the business park, and told members he could ‘categorically state’ that the use of the ancillary building would not be a fast food restaurant
Planning conditions would limit it to operating as a coffee shop, bakery or restaurant facility.
Head of planning Peter Richards said: “While in an ideal world this site would come forward for employment as we all originally planned in the core strategy, circumstances have changed.
“You can’t just protect employment land ad infinitum. There comes a point where you have to look at the market context.”
Moving they approve the application, Councillor Ruji Surjan said: “There are a number of residents who are in support of this scheme and I think given that Aldi, with the rejection of the previous one, have come back with more changes and added more, I do feel like they have taken into consideration what we have previously said.”
The plans were approved, with two councillors voting against the plans.