The application by Lidl to have a store at Altrincham Retail Park was a very popular one with residents and would have saved the last remaining DIY store ‘Homebase’ with it 50 jobs and the creation of 40 jobs at the new store.
Instead, Trafford Planning voted twice to refuse 6 votes to 4 on both occasions, the main problems with the application were with the ‘never to be built’ Altair complex in Altrincham and a regress of a road.
All was going well for the Lidl store until a nervous sounding Rebecca Coley butted in and in-directly threatened the councillors about the law, then the councillors that were swaying towards voting to approve the Lidl store changed their minds rapidly.
The cyclist crazy Altrincham Green councillor Daniel Gerrome made a point about the safety issues with the regress and parking issues, however before Ms Cloey butted in he was looking to approve the Lidl store, similarly Lid Dem councillor Minnis was leaning towards approving, with only one reason she could come up with to refuse it.
Even the Vice-Chair went against officers recommendations and approved the Lidl store! however, it was it seems Ms Coley’s intervention that swayed the vote without question and it was no surprise why a normally confident-sounding woman was sounding like she was in the polar arctic.
This is a disgrace from top to bottom, the excuses to reject the application was not even worth listening to and had no real bearing on anything, it was the word ‘Law’ that changed things.
For now, Homebase have said they will have to close this store if the Lidl store was not approved, meaning a loss of a DIY store, and 50 jobs at a time when we need to be keeping these places open and offer job security,
Aldi, B and M and Asda complained, this was purely to do with footfall, they did not want any more competition and it does look like they may have felt frightened by Lidl’s presence.
It is hoped Lidl will appeal on the grounds the refusal was a farce, or it could reapply with amended plans, however its that sequential thing that will still cause problems, it is then an issue with the council and the Altair development, is it going to happen or is it not?
Town centres must be given priority when development is going ahead as planned not an illusion as it stands now, and the more this development is in the back of people’s minds the more things we will lose, like Lidl.