Aldi granted permission for new Shrewsbury supermarket despite traffic worries

Supermarket giant Aldi has been granted planning permission to build a new store in Shrewsbury amid a heated council debate and opposition from rival chain Tesco.

The discount chain is now a step closer to relocating its Arlington Way store to Battlefield after Shropshire Council's Northern Planning Committee voted eight to three in favour of the move.

The site was previously earmarked for a Miller & Carter steakhouse, Costa drive-through, Premier Inn and shop units. Meanwhile plans have been submitted to Shropshire Council for 130 homes and commercial buildings to be built on land to the west of Battlefield Road.

Concerns had been raised over traffic congestion at the Battlefield roundabout, as well at the development's proximity to the Battlefield heritage site.

However, property director Bryn Richards, representing Aldi, said the chain would not build a multi-million pound supermarket compromised by "dangerous" roads or queueing traffic. He also criticised Tesco's objections, insisting they were "purely based on competition" facing the nearby Tesco Extra supermarket.

This latest application includes a new exit from the site onto the A49, which is aimed to ease traffic problems that could potentially be caused.

But the addition was not enough for councillors Dean Carroll and David Vasmer, who urged colleagues on the committee to vote against the plans.

On the new exit, Battlefield councillor Mr Carroll said: "I have some concern over its deliverability. Battlefield Road is an extremely congested route straight into the heart of Shrewsbury." Councillor Vasmer also said he felt the impact to road congestion in the area would be "severe" if the project is delivered.

However, Mr Richards pointed out that National Highways made no objection to the move, saying that based on its assessment the development would not result in any detrimental impact to the strategic road network. "The proposal is therefore sound," he said.

"We are not building a multi-million pound store which is compromised by queueing traffic that puts our customers off visiting again," he told Councillor Carroll.

"I am also fully aware of the repeated objections of Tesco which are purely based on competition. Of course it is important that all matters are properly considered by the planning committee. The application meets all policy objectives, including those relating to employment land, highways and heritage."

He added: "The public has the right to access a discount supermarket, particularly at a time of rising living costs, and should not be monopolised by Tesco.

"We will retain all 25 existing jobs, and create 15 news jobs, generate £1 million in wages annually, and new jobs will be created at the Arlington Way site for employment uses."

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