SOMERSET: Wells Lidl decision delayed
CREDIT: Google Maps
Wells residents will have to wait another month to find out whether a new, larger Lidl store will be built in their city.
The German supermarket giant has applied to build a new store on the site of the former Travis Perkins outlet on the A39 Strawberry Way, next door to its existing base.
Mendip District Council’s planning board was expected to give a ruling on the proposals when it met in Shepton Mallet on Wednesday evening (October 13).
But this decision has now been pushed back to the board’s next meeting in November due to issues surrounding advice from the Environment Agency (EA).
Councillor Damon Hooton, who chairs the planning board, announced the delay at the beginning of the meeting.
He said: “This application has been deferred until next month. There is an issue with the EA advice, and the recommendation needs to be revisited to make sure that is correct.”
Planning officer Anna Clark indicated in her written report that the EA had no objection to the proposed provided certain conditions could be met – including appropriate measures to prevent flooding and provide suitable drainage, and surveys to identify any contaminated land within the site.
The EA has also requested the site meet the council’s sequential test – meaning that if there is a more appropriate site for this store which has a lower flood risk, it should be built there instead.
Under the proposals, Lidl will demolish the former Travis Perkins outlet and construct a new, larger store in its place, providing a further 574 sq m of floorspace for a large pallet freezer, in-store bakery, customer toilets and storage space.
Once the new store is completed, the existing store to the west will be sold to a non-food retailer.
Glen Stiveder, Lidl’s regional head of property, said: “The existing Lidl store on Strawberry Way is representative of a ‘first generation’ store, having opened in 1996 and extended slightly in 2005 with little to no improvements since.
“This has resulted in a store that is no longer fit for purpose, as it cannot provide the same number of high-quality and affordable products as our newer stores located elsewhere.”
The new store is expected to create an additional ten jobs, with further jobs being created by the non-food retailer when it moves in.
Councillor Lois Rogers, who represents the neighbouring Wells Central ward, has argued the development should not proceed unless improvements to the Strawberry Line can be secured in the process.
She said: “This scheme has been in the pipeline for more than two decades. The failure to establish the Mendip section of the route is testimony to the incompetence of successive administrations.
“To fulfil our national and local obligations to combat the climate and environmental emergency, it is essential that a safe cycle crossing is signposted across Priory Road and round the back of the new supermarket.”
Wells City Council has spoken in favour of the plans, but has supported Ms Rogers’ request for a safe pedestrian crossing.
The next meeting of the district council’s planning board is scheduled to be held on November 10 at 6pm, and will be live-streamed via its website.
Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter
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