Shropshire Star

New Aldi store plan approved for Shrewsbury despite traffic concerns

Work will soon begin on the construction of a new Aldi supermarket after plans were approved by Shropshire Council.

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How the new Aldi store next to Battlefield Roundabout could look.

The authority’s northern planning committee voted through the proposals for a new Aldi store next to Battlefield roundabout in Shrewsbury despite hearing that “not a single person” in the area wanted to see it built.

It means the days are now numbered for the Aldi supermarket in Arlington Way, Harlescott, which will cease trading once the new store is completed.

All 29 staff are to be relocated and at least 10 extra jobs will be created.

The committee heard the council had received 71 letters of support over the application, and 28 objections.

But Battlefield councillor Dean Carroll said: “I would not want the members of the committee to think that the balance of support to objections is actually reflective of local opinion, because I can assure you categorically that it most certainly is not.

“I have had countless people contact me objecting to this and not one single person from the Battlefield division contact me in support of it.”

Councillor Carroll said the traffic impact on the already busy Battlefield Road, which the new store will be accessed from, had been “underestimated” by highways officers who had not objected to the scheme.

He further argued that the site was allocated for industrial and office uses in the council’s development plan.

“This is a key gateway strategic employment site, it gives an impression when people first arrive in Shrewsbury,” said Councillor Carroll.

“We were promised high-quality employment land and that is what we want.”

The store in Arlington Way, pictured here during a refurb in 2014, was built in 1992

George Brown, Aldi’s regional property director, also addressed the committee to explain the reason for the proposed relocation.

He said: “Aldi has been part of the community in Shrewsbury since Arlington Way opened in 1992.

“An increase in customer needs has resulted in the need for more tills and wider aisles.

“While we were able to extend the store in 2006, it’s still 40 per cent smaller than our current design and can no longer accommodate the full range of products or customer demand.

“The store is at the end of its viable life and will need to close. The land area cannot accommodate a new build, so we have no other option than to relocate.”

Mr Brown said a legal agreement would ensure the Arlington Way site is marketed for employment use, excluding retail, for 10 years – effectively representing a “land swap” for the allocated employment site the new store will occupy.

Councillor Vince Hunt said: “It’s obviously less than ideal. That said, it will create jobs and it’s a use of a bit of land that’s stood idle for some time, and actually frees up some space for more employment land on the old site.”

Councillor Joyce Barrow said it would be “difficult” to justify a refusal on highways grounds due to the fact highways officers had judged the proposals to be acceptable.

Members voted to approve the scheme.

At 1,880 square metres, the new supermarket will be around a third larger than the existing one in Arlington Way.

It will incorporate a renewable heat recovery system and four electric vehicle charging points will be provided in the 148-space car park, with infrastructure in place for more to be installed in the future.

An existing veteran oak tree and the public footpath crossing the site will be retained.

The site lies 265 metres from the registered battlefield associated with the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403, meaning a programme of archaeological work must be carried out to look for artefacts before construction can start.