Third time lucky for Lidl? German company reveals plans to move into Huntingdon

LIDL hopes it is third time lucky after submitting plans for a new Huntingdon store.

Huntingdonshire District Council rejected plans in 2000 from the discount supermarket for a store at the former Brookfield secondary modern school.

The council rejected plans again two years ago in the Alda Motors site off Stukeley Road, next to the Iron Bridge, where an out of town location, and a walnut tree, stood in its way.

But the German-owned supermarket is hoping a tree protection plan will swing the council to approve the 1,063sqm-store, on the same site as two years ago, just north of the planned Huntingdon West development.

Lidl has said that the store will “significantly improve consumer choice in the town” and that it would not have a “significantly adversely impact” on the town centre.

The company added that there was not a current space within the town centre large enough for their development and that if Waitrose were to move to Chequer’s Court, they would not vacate the Benedict’s Court shop early enough.

Two years ago Andy Moffat, HDC’s development manager, admitted a discount supermarket would not be “unwelcome”.

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He said: “There is a need for a discount store in the town centre, either in the redeveloped Chequers Court area or in Huntingdon West.

“We want to accommodate Lidl or another discount store but we don’t want to approve anything that would prejudice redevelopment of the town centre.”

The new 1.9-acre plan also includes demolishing five homes between 1 and 11a Stukeley Road and replacing them with 14 two-bedroom flats for social rent. The flats will have special double-glazed windows, and sound proofing roofing, to combat noise from the East Coast Main Line.

A Lidl spokesman said: “We have submitted a planning application for the demolition of existing buildings and the erection of a Lidl Foodstore as well as 14 residential apartments for social rent.

“Following our refusal in 2010, we have brought in additional land to reconfigure the site layout to overcome reasons for refusal.”

The new store, with around 100 car and three bus parking spaces, would be open from 8am-9pm Monday to Saturday and 10am-4pm on Sundays and could provide jobs for 40 full-time equivalent staff members.

During an open day to promote the 2010 proposal, 98 per cent of people asked were in favour of having a Lidl in Huntingdon.

A decision is likely to be made in September and, if approved, the Lidl store would open in summer 2013.