February 9, 2017
Mixed reactions to plans for new Aldi store in Highbridge

Proposals to build a new Aldi supermarket in Highbridge are attracting support from residents and ongoing opposition from some local businesses.

As first reported here, town councillors and businesses are concerned that the proposed store in Bennetts Road will severely hit trade in Burnham and Highbridge.

Concerns have been raised by the Chamber of Trade, supported by a petition signed by 62 local businesses.

But many residents have been writing to the district council in support of the scheme.

One, Graham Hardes, says: "This store will be a great asset to the people of the local area and give them more choice of where to shop."

Karen Walker added: "Due to the rapid expansion of the population, Highbridge needs this store and others like it."

Julie Nutting says: "As a long-term resident, I have recently witnessed a huge increase in affordable accommodation being built all around the area which has massively increased the population of Highbridge and I think it is essential for more shops to open in this area, especially a store that offers such a reasonable priced shopping experience. I and many of my friends will be extremely disappointed if Aldi are not given the go-ahead."

Dawn Harrison adds: "This would be a welcome development for Burnham and Highbridge residents - I have to travel to Weston or Bridgwater to visit Aldi which is a shame as while I'm there I visit the other shops in that town instead."

Deborah Blyth-Squires added that she believes the store would create "more employment, more choice, and would develop an areas that has been an eyesore for far too long - and bring more trade to the area."

Gordon Allen at the Bristol Bridge Inn added: "I think the store should go ahead. Aldi offer good quality goods at reasonable prices. It does not seem to make much difference to businesses in other areas, and I think the same will apply here. Competition is good for the public."

The proposals are currently out for consultation until February 14th and will then ultimately be decided by Sedgemoor District Council.

Aldi's own research indicates that Lidl in Burnham could lose 19.4% of its trade due to the proposed new store on the Isleport Industrial estate.

And Aldi's research also shows that existing Burnham town centre stores that sell competing goods may lose 7.3% of their trade, threatening the viability of the town centre, it's claimed, which has already suffered a decline in footfall since the closure of Morrisons in 2015.

An Aldi spokesperson told "We consulted local people before submitting a planning application and the responses highlighted that the vast majority of the local community are delighted to hear an Aldi could soon be opening near them."

"An Aldi store would represent a multi-million pound investment in Highbridge, providing more shopping choice and making shopping and saving easier for local people, who currently travel to other supermarkets."

"The Aldi store will assist in retaining expenditure in the local area that is currently being spent outside the district. This will have significant added benefits for the area, including reducing the need to travel further afield."

"Aldi stores are a modest scale and provide a limited product range, so compared with most supermarkets, who have separate butcher and bakery counters etc., Aldi is not a ‘one stop shop’. Aldi's offer complements rather than competes with existing local shops and services. In fact, a new Aldi often improves an area, attracting more shoppers for the benefit of all nearby businesses."

"The proposed Aldi site has been allocated for development for some time, but nothing has been forthcoming to date. The Aldi proposal will facilitate bringing the site into beneficial economic use."


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