plans for new Aldi store in Highbridge are approved
for a new Aldi supermarket in Highbridge have this week been given
the go-ahead despite objections from the Town Council and Burnham
Chamber of Trade amid concern that it will damage the town centre's
proposals for a new 1,804 square metre store in Bennett Road, at
the northern end of the Isleport Industrial Park, were
given a 'green light' by Sedgemoor District Council's Development
Control Committee on Tuesday May 9th.
told the meeting that the proposed store will create 14 full-time
jobs and 26 part-time jobs, has the backing of the majority of the
general public and could generate future commercial development
in the town.
as first reported here,
town councillors and businesses are concerned that the proposed
store will severely hit trade in Burnham and Highbridge.
Turco from Burnham-On-Sea Chamber of Commerce told the meeting:
"A year ago if Aldi had wanted to open on the old Morrisons
site in Burnham town centre we would have been doing cartwheels
down the High Street."
objection is not about Aldi, it is about the location. We are concerned
for the future of our town centre. In an age where it's easy for
people to buy what they want, when they want, we need to be actively
supporting town centres."
local people into our town centre should be a key goal for local
authorities. Burnham town centre is one which you describe in your
own local plan as being 'vulnerable' yet if Aldi takes 20 per cent
of Lidls customers, that is thousands of people who will not
be coming into the town centre."
for Burnham and Highbridge Town Council, Cllr Peter Burridge-Clayton
added that he supported the Chamber of Trade's comments.
appreciate that many members of the public do want Aldi, but the
location is the issue," he told the meeting. "We're a
tourist town, and if we lose shops we lose visitors, if we lose
visitors we lose more shops, and pretty soon the whole town centre
Sedgemoor District Council's key planning officer recommended that
the committee approve the application, as we reported
here last week, explaining that it complied with national, regional
and local planning policies and that Highways England had not objected.
was pointed out by Aldi that its survey of the public earlier this
year had revealed 95 per cent backing for the store, while more
than 40 letters of support had also been sent to the district council
by the public.
Andrew Gilling told the meeting he found it quite "startling"
that those who are supposed to be representing the residents "seem
to be at odds with them." He added that he would be supporting
Janet Keen raised concerns about heavy goods vehicles delivering
and access being tight, but Cllr Gilling responded that modern reversing
cameras and a lack of Highways concerns mean this should not hold
up the application.
application was approved by eight votes to one. Cllr Mike Facey
was the only councillor who voted against the plans. Cllr Janet
Keen was unable to vote as she had pre-determined the application.
the meeting, Burnham resident Gaynor Brown told Burnham-On-Sea.com:
"Sedgemoors Revised Local Plan recognises that the economy
of Burnham and Highbridge is extremely fragile and yet passes yet
another out of town superstore. The attitude seems to be that despite
the fact that the application breaks planning rules on at least
eight counts, it doesnt matter because everyone can shop by
suggestion is that because they claim there are no more central
sites available a totally unsuitable site becomes acceptable, of
course it doesnt the site still has to meet planning requirements
for A1 usage which this does not and no no parking traffic
order can make it meet the regulations. There are suitable sites
available and they turned down the Morrisons site when asked
to take it over."
reality is that we will lose Lidl and Highbridge will lose the Co-op
so unless you can afford to run a car you will have real difficulty
in doing your weekly shopping. We dont have to take this -
we could ask for a call-in to the Planning Inspectorate and maybe
if this is how much our District Council care about our town thats
exactly what we should do."
Faun, Sedgemoor District Council spokeswoman, told Burnham-On-Sea.com:
"Sedgemoor District Council is working with Burnham Chamber
of Trade and Commerce and others to support businesses in the centre
of Burnham-On-Sea. There are many ways to take advantage of new
opportunities in the area, especially given the increase in visitors
we are expecting because of the Hinkley Point C development, the
opening of the England Coast Path and Brean Down Way and the current
advertising campaign promoting the wider county and its coastal