Decision looms on discount supermarket's controversial plans

A discount retailer's controversial planning application to demolish a local gym and their existing store so they can replace it with a new larger store, is scheduled to be determined next week.

Lidl have applied to build a new foodstore at Summerfields Village Centre immediately adjacent to their existing store, on the site currently occupied by the energi Fitness Club.

The replacement store will be approximately twice the scale of the existing Lidl store, with 2,480m2 gross floorspace, and be served by a total of 137 parking spaces, including six disabled and eight parent and child spaces, along with cycle parking facilities.

Cheshire East Council has received 415 letters objecting to the scheme.

Amongst the issues raised are: no need for a larger store; loss of health and social facility; no alternative gym nearby; loss of jobs within health club; several supermarkets in local area; loss of privacy to residents; size of building is inappropriate; building is out of character with local area; impact on wildlife; site is not in a town centre and loss of parking spaces.

A petition containing approximately 600 signatures has also been delivered to Cheshire East Council objecting to the proposal on the grounds that the gym is situated in a residential area for locals and others to use; further traffic problems within this area are unacceptable to residents and the proposed loss of number of mature trees to make way for new building / delivery area.

Wilmslow Town Council's Planning Committee recommend refusal of this application on the grounds that the location is not a 'Town Centre' as indicated in the proposal; the argument for a 'proven need' at this location has not been made; the loss of the existing D2 facility would reduce the service offer at this location and the existing store meets the needs on a site which is considered to be neither a 'Key Service Centre' or a 'Local Service Centre' in the Local Plan.

Twenty-five letters supporting the proposal were also received, commenting that the improvements will be great; the existing store is not big enough and there are too many gyms.

The Planning Officer is recommending that the Northern Planning Committee approve the application at their meeting on Wednesday, 6th December, subject to conditions - stating "It is evident that there is strong local opposition to the loss of the existing gym. However, it has been demonstrated for the purposes of planning policy that the existing fitness centre is surplus to requirements, given the availability of other indoor leisure facilities in the local area. The proposal is also in accordance with local and national retail planning policy. The proposal complies with all relevant policies of the development plan and is therefore a sustainable form of development. In accordance with policy MP1 of the CELPS, the application should therefore be approved without delay."

The Northern Planning Committee meeting will take place at 10am on Wednesday, 6th December at Macclesfield Town Hall.

Tags:
Energie Fitness, Lidl, Planning Applications
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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Mark Goldsmith
Tuesday 28th November 2017 at 4:03 pm
Another perverse finding by our "make it up as the go along" Planning Dept. No wonder they are the 2nd most complained about planning dept in the country. Obviously vying for No 1 slot this year though.

It really is quite simple - we either get a:

Lidl

Or we get to keep a:

Lidl
Gym
Swimming pool
Hair dressers
Beauty salon
Yoga studio
Smoothie bar
Coffee shop
Physio

There are plenty of reasons to reject this application as pointed out by Wilmslow Town Council.

That the planning officer concerned has chosen to ignore these and common sense is all too depressing. They have become self-serving lackeys, working for big business by default - too scared to resist in case they lose at appeal.

Let's hope the conservative councillors find their backbone though and reject this out right.
Julian Barlow
Tuesday 28th November 2017 at 4:43 pm
If our local planning department is too frightened to refuse a development for fear that it will be granted on appeal, what exactly is the point of a local planning department? We may as well do without the huge expense and just accept the rampant eradication of our countryside.
Rick Andrews
Wednesday 29th November 2017 at 8:48 am
The Lidl report on leisure facilities included the non-existent new gym in the centre of Wilmslow which might never materialise so the report is flawed. It seems that planning policy accepts any proposal from companies which might appeal if an application is unsuccessful. The whole system ignores the residents' views on most development proposals and hides behind policy. Seems ridiculous to have a system which allows the public to comment if the comments are ignored.The Goliaths win every time.

However, the planning committee does not have to agree with the planners...or will they?

Really looking forward to the next opportunity to vote for new council members. CEC - classic example of chaos.
Nick Jones
Wednesday 29th November 2017 at 10:31 am
The best Legal team with the best strategies and advocates will win ! .... so it'll be a new supermarket !
Dina Robinson
Wednesday 29th November 2017 at 12:19 pm
Energie have served 30 days notice of closure today. They will close on 31st December.
Clive Cooksey
Wednesday 29th November 2017 at 4:15 pm
When this store came, not many knew about Lidl. NOW, they do! Therefore its supply and demand. I just hope if they get the larger store, they will have ALL tills working for "faster" high speed shopping!!!
Maria Quin
Wednesday 29th November 2017 at 5:54 pm
Being unaware of all the details of this situation - my question might be a stupid one - but I’ll ask it anyway!

Why can’t Lidl expand upwards and keep the gym and all the other services it offers? Don’t understand the need to swop two good facilities for just one? Or am I being naive? (I do agree with all the previous comments about our planners and am flabbergasted at their ruthless ignorance of their residents feelings!!
Laurie Atterbury
Wednesday 29th November 2017 at 8:01 pm
Never yet seen all tills open at current Lidl so expansion seems a bit silly?
Simon Worthington
Thursday 30th November 2017 at 11:44 am
Can we have the name of the planning officer publicised along with the names of those who vote for if that happens. The overwhelming number of objections ignored so far by those we expect to organise our society along the wishes of the majority will cause us to lose faith and eventually we will have to rid ourselves of the greedy and self serving among them.
This facility had well in excess of a thousand users - how many customers will Lidl lose out of those members and how many more when a far superior Aldi (get on with it and buy Wilmslow Sainsburys or Waitrose) opens.
For those not aware, another four retail businesses in Wilmslow are closing before spring. The greedy and incompetent have ruined our town.

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