Huntingdon Lidl supermarket plans set to be refused


Lidl - Credit: Archant

LIDL’S fight to open a supermarket in Huntingdon will take another dent next week as its latest planning application looks set to be refused ... but the battle will continue on appeal.

The German-owned company has been trying for years to open in the town, with its previous two applications for a site in Stukeley Road having been turned down by Huntingdonshire District Council.

And history looks set to repeat itself on Monday (June 17) as HDC planners have recommended the council’s development management committee refuses planning permission for the new store and 14 apartments for social housing.

One of the main reasons put forward for refusal, according to a council report, was because of the location, which is deemed to be out-of-town. Lidl would have to prove that no other suitable town centre site is available or likely to become available in order to get permission for the Stukeley proposal.

HDC points to the current Waitrose site in St Benedict’s Court as a valid option for Lidl. It adds that the unit is likely “to become available by mid 2015”. Waitrose intends to move into part of the current Sainsbury’s site when that supermarket reopens in the west of the town centre development.

When the supermarket merry-go-round stops, HDC is hopeful that a St Benedict’s site will provide an ideal space for a discount food retailer, which it is keen to see open in Huntingdon – but not in an out-of-town spot.

The report adds: “The applicants have failed to demonstrate that [the Waitrose] unit is either not available or not suitable for the use proposed.”

Most Read

HDC did receive seven letters of support for the application and four against, including one from Churchmanor Estates, the developer behind the Chequers Court proposals.

Huntingdon Town Council also objected the application, again based on its location and potential effect on the high street.

Lidl, which said it had reconfigured the site layout to overcome previous reasons for refusal of its plans, has already lodged an appeal for non-determination, meaning the plans will be examined by a Planning Inspector.

The proposal would create about 40 jobs.