Crunch-time for Aldi's plans for former Mercedes showroom in Chester

Reporter:

Steve Creswell

CONTROVERSIAL plans to convert a Chester car showroom into a budget supermarket are recommended for approval at a crunch meeting tomorrow.

Aldi Stores UK Ltd wants to create a new store on the site of the former Mercedes garage at the roundabout junction of Countess Way and Parkgate Road.

A total of 50 people have written to Cheshire West and Chester Council to support the scheme, saying it will be great news for nearby Blacon residents.

But 21 people object, with many claiming it will cause a traffic nightmare on an already congested junction.

Tesco and Asda have also objected saying the new supermarket would pull too much trade away from their stores in the area of the Sealand Way Neighbourhood Centre.

Planning case officer Bethany Brown recommends the plans for approval.

She says highways officers have looked at traffic issues and concluded the new store would not have too big an impact.

She wrote: “Whilst recognising that traffic can already be slow-moving in this area, the highways officer has concluded that the scale of additional traffic likely to be generated would not overburden the the highway network to such an extent that it could result in severe operational or safety issues over and above the present situation.”

Among the objectors were Upton Parish Council, which shared concerns about traffic, and Chester Civic Trust, which was not happy with the design of the proposed supermarket.

Planning consultants on behalf of Tesco suggested the new Aldi store could divert a significant trade away from its nearest store on Sealand Road, as well as the Asda on Greyhound Road.

They wrote: “We’re particularly concerned about the trade diversion from Sealand Way Neighbourhood Centre given its underperformance.

“The agent estimates that £201,000 and £840,000 respectively would be diverted from the Tesco and Asda stores. Taking the Sealand Way Neighbourhood Centre as a whole, the agent forecasts the impact at £5.28m (or 18.2 per cent).

“We consider it is only reasonable that the planning application be refused.”

However, some people have suggested the new store could relieve traffic pressure on Sealand Road, which also becomes very congested at peak times.

One resident said: “I believe the proposed location for the supermarket is a good one, with much better public transport links to the site than the store currently located on Sealand Industrial Estate. I also think that this will help to reduce some of the congestion associated with the Sealand site.

“The impact on traffic in the area will be minimal in my opinion as a large volume of traffic already passes through the area to approach the established retail parks further along.”

Email:

steve.creswell@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Chester Leader

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