Reader's Letter: Lidl's 'aggressive' development strategy

lidl

It is clear from the Financial Mail on Sunday's article yesterday that Lidl has an aggressive 'modus operandi' when it comes to selecting sites for their expansion in the UK and Ireland. They find a vulnerable community asset, brow beat the sitting tenant into relinquishing their lease, grab the land from beneath their feet and convince the local council that they are developing the site for the benefit of the local community.

The Cheshire East case officer's recommendation to approve the Lidl development at Summerfields Village Centre, shows that CE development managers are complicite in support of such moves. The Cheshire East Local Strategy Plan was 7 years and £3.7M in the making, finally adopted in July 2017, but the case officer has chosen a 'saved policy' from before 1997, as the sole basis for his economic sustainability argument. This flies in the face of both the local plan and government legislation that calls for a 'Town Centre First' approach to retail development, so protecting both Wilmslow and Handforth town centres from unsustainable developments of this kind. At the same time, this golden thread of 'sustainable development' in the statutes, aims at protecting community assets, in this case a well patronised swimming pool and fitness centre, from attack.

It is about time that Cheshire East Council demonstrate that they have the residents of Cheshire East, as the centre of their attention, and not developers hellbent on destroying their local infrastructure. It is interesting to note that the extensive development planned at Earl Road, Stanley Green Retail Estate is seen as a possible threat to the vitality and viability of Macclesfield Town Centre. Can you imagine the impact on Wilmslow and particularly Handforth town centres, and local traders, of this 'go to' Retail Park Lidl store if approved at Summerfields Village Centre? This is a 27000 square foot major Lidl supermarket, of which I cannot find larger in the UK.

Tags:
Lidl, Reader's Letter
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Comments

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

Paul Roue
Tuesday 23rd January 2018 at 2:14 pm
Hello Richard.

Your comments are interesting and worrying in the same measure!

The Cheshire East case officer takes no notice of the impact on the community.

1. The privacy of neighbouring homes within feet of this huge superstore. Uncaring!

2. Noise and pollution from delivery vehicles backing up against bedroom windows. Appalling!

3. The sheer size and design of this structure is not appropriate for this mixed use community. Wrong!

4. The increase in traffic this ‘go to’ destination superstore will inevitably create. Dangerous!

5. Removal of recreational / leisure facility from the Summerfield Village Community. Unforgivable!
Jon Armstrong
Tuesday 23rd January 2018 at 6:00 pm
The first paragraph is a highly exaggerated reading of an already heavily slanted article. There were no vulnerable old grandmas callously cheated of their life savings by an evil corporation... A business made a landlord an offer at seemingly above market rate and the landlord accepted. Perfectly above board... No "grabbing the land from beneath their feet". The man with the aerospace business needs to take a look in the mirror... If my firm was in a position where relocation was catastrophically expensive and disruptive to my business, I'd make sure I had a long term lease negotiated and/or had factored the cost of moving into my business plan. That he appears to have relied upon the continued goodwill of the landlord to stay there is nobody else's fault but his. The landlord doesn't owe him a living and just wants the best value for their property.
Martin Kitchin
Tuesday 23rd January 2018 at 10:11 pm
Hello Jon Armstrong,

And what please is your view of the impact Lidl GmbH on the residents of Chellaston ?

Thank you.
Jon Armstrong
Wednesday 24th January 2018 at 6:54 am
My view is it is completely irrelevant to what is happening in Wilmslow.
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 24th January 2018 at 11:17 am
I wonder if Energi gym would be interested in moving into the soon to be vacant Halliwell Jones MINI facility?
Lorraine Smith
Wednesday 24th January 2018 at 12:19 pm
It remains the case that a Lidl superstore will have a devastating impact on Handforth and Wilmslow town centres. The current vacant retail space on Alderley Road, Wilmslow has the potential to become an area of blight. There are 5 vacant stores with 2 more (MultiYork, Barkers) about to become empty.
The impact of additional cars making their way to a Lidl superstore will be felt by all of us who depend on the Summerfields roundabout as our main thoroughfare/access to the A34, Handforth, the airport, Styal etc.
Please don't allow our town to become a victim of more out of town shopping areas.
Jackie Pass
Wednesday 24th January 2018 at 3:38 pm
Lorraine - agree. It will impact on the two town centres. I could understand it if Lidl wanted to expand they might take a site at Handforth Dean - which is effectively becoming a new town, but to try and build a bigger store - bigger even than their latest new one in Stockport (Hempshaw Lane) in a suburban area is aggressive.

Contrast this with Sainsburys in Wilmslow town centre, which has a modest design , has restrictive delivery hours and which has put up with customers having to pay to use the carpark for years, - three things which Lidl are not prepared to put up with at Dean Row Road. Why should the supermarkets in the centre of Wilmslow be effectively penalised for being in the town centre?
Jim Griffith
Wednesday 24th January 2018 at 5:02 pm
Lorraine Smith

Lidl Superstore?. Out of Town Shopping Centre? What nonsense. This is and will be just a local supermarket to which many people walk as well as visit by car.It is so popular that is often difficult to find a trolley and the aisles are crammed with shoppers. These thousands of customers have no voice on these pages, but they vote with their feet every week. Lidl and Aldi are gaining share rapidly at the expense of major retailers like Sainsburys and Tesco because they give customers what they want at lower prices. It is not a high rent site in Wilmslow that is already at saturation for car parking. Lidl will never be at Handforth Dean. It does not fit their business model or their customer need.

Exaggerating problems at the roundabout does not help. Cars almost always pass with no delay except at the morning and evening rush hour and then the problems are minimal.
Jon Armstrong
Wednesday 24th January 2018 at 5:38 pm
For some reason they think wild exaggeration helps rather than hinders their cause, Jim.

Yes there can be queuing at the roundabout at rush hour but this is hardly peak weekly shopping time so the net impact on traffic there is likely to be minimal to none.

Then new Lidl certainly won't be an out of town "superstore" and is likely to be the same or smaller than the two supermarkets in the town centre (which have less parking and are equally close to housing) that are being held up by some as the gold standard.
Jackie Pass
Wednesday 24th January 2018 at 6:06 pm
Jon - this new Lidl, as already pointed out, is bigger than the one newly built in Stockport on a brownfield site. Some of the conditions imposed by Stockport were immmediately put in to be overturned.
Clive Cooksey
Wednesday 24th January 2018 at 7:20 pm
Bring it on all you moaners. If its going to effect Wilmslow and Handforth as you claim, then its about time they set their stall out to compete, and not keep stashing away great profits. If Lidl can make money, then so can they.
Martin Kitchin
Wednesday 24th January 2018 at 10:22 pm
Jim / Clive/ Jon,

With respect this will be the biggest Lidl GmbH in the UK.

It is not appropriate to build a store this big next to bedroom windows in a neighbourhood centre.

As Lorraine & Jackie say the impact on Wilmslow and Handforth town centres will be huge.

This new superstore will be much more than wider aisles, more bakery lines and customer toilets. Its going to be a destination store in its own right. Look at the plans please.

This isn't about moaning, wild exaggeration or nimbyism.

It's about researching the application, unearthing all its flaws (and there are many) and proving that this huge new Lidl GmbH is simply not appropriate for this particular site. Honestly.


Martin Kitchin.
Richard Armstead
Thursday 25th January 2018 at 9:10 am
Welcome to the crazy world that is Cheshire East Planning. Where street fighters like Lidl can apply to demolish a community facility that they didn't even own at the outset in April 2016. It seems OK to badger an independent operator to extinction convincing the Council along the way that they are providing a community service. Its just this time that residents really care about how their community develops and they too have decided in this case that the gloves are well and truly off.
Mike Brownbridge
Thursday 25th January 2018 at 2:05 pm
What a lot of nonsense is listed by some people.
A larger Lidl store will have little impact on the area, especially as the gym it will replace was one of many around the area & Energi could not make it pay because of competition from all the others.
If Lidl offer British fruit , vegetables , dairy products, meat & poultry at better prices than the Wilmslow supermarkets, was is their to argue about.
There seem to be a lot of NYMBY's who fail to understand the value in buying British produce, not products from all round the world like Sainsburys & Waitrose, who charge customers more for the privilege of buying environmentally unfriendly food.
Jim Griffith
Thursday 25th January 2018 at 2:31 pm
Richard Armstead

What evidence do you have that Energi 'was badgered to extinction.'? I was a member of the original Viva and its subsequent guises. It has always struggled and the gym has had multiple owners. How do you know that a profitable (not?) gym was badgered out of existence? What exactly do those words mean? A CVA for which they applied definitely means unable to pay their debts.

I have not done my research but I am fairly sure that the protesters on this site who are now so anxious to preserve a failing gym are kindred spirits with those who fought against its initial establishment so near the adjacent houses.

If this new store has the huge impact on Waitrose, Sainsburys that you claim. So be it. It's called competition. I remember very well the opposition to the then new Sainsburys store and its later extension. Usual suspects.
Richard Armstead
Thursday 25th January 2018 at 5:24 pm
Hi Mike and Jim

Now just settle down and enjoy a bit of light relief, but first to your points. Read the applicant's own Planning and Retail Statement, or the Cheshire East case officer's recommendation and see what they say about Lidl's restricted product range. Takes some beating, not seen such a load of tripe in all my days. As to profitability of Wilmslow Leisure Ltd, they have reported only profit in their accounts for the last 7 years.The directors will have been well rewarded drawing remuneration from within the company, as to be expected for a limited company.Cash flow inadequacy is not necessarily a reason for a company to fold. The directors probably saw the developing situation for what it was and decided enough was enough, with suitors in the wings, they moved on to pastures new.

Now kick off your shoes, get yourself a cup of tea or something stronger and relax.

A day in the life!

Imagine the scene. Here I am, an eagle-eyed property manager, patrolling the landscape for another tasty infrastructure morsel. What’s this? Residents to the left of me, residents to the right of me, what are they crowing about now? All too late they will realise there is a cuckoo in their midst. Everything is going swimmingly, but I cannot seem to shake off that pesky flock, going on and on about their treasured residential amenity. Everything on the up and up though, as I learn how to keep my own counsel, and navigate the passages that take me closer to my happy hunting grounds. I have to be careful though; if I fly too close to the sun, I will fall to earth, soon ending up in front of the beak. Not to worry, ways and means aplenty to help those so inclined to feather their own nest. What next? Must fly and make sure my little bird knows what is expected of him. He is a real good sort, seems to have the ability to turn facts into fiction, a good wingman to have at your side, as you battle the head winds. Where will I end up with this one? Had a good result last week, at the love-in, but fear that this one is a much tougher nut to crack. Even I cannot expect Joe public to swallow this endless litany of half-truths and subterfuge. It really sticks in their craw. Never mind tomorrow is another day and our leader never sleeps, flitting from project to project. Safe in his eerie he has his beady eye on me. No rest for the wicked!
Jim Griffith
Thursday 25th January 2018 at 5:56 pm
Richard Armstead

I thought this was a worthwhile exchange of views. Obviously not. No more please.
Oliver Romain
Thursday 25th January 2018 at 6:57 pm
Supermarkets are used by most of us, they are not the enemy. If this plan is flawed it will be rejected. My experience of these things is to object on technical and legal grounds. Have a wip round amongst neighbours and enmploy a planning consultant to pick apart the plans. Give councillors valid reason to reject, not just that you prefer a gym or don’t like supermarkets, landlords, the law of the land etc. Get technical. Martin is right about that. For example didn’t know it was the largest Lidl. So therefore Little is known about its impact on the roads or how many deliveries there will be.
Helene Marshall
Friday 26th January 2018 at 6:58 am
Oliver Romain - if only your statement were true. I agree a lot of the objections have been about keeping the gym v getting a bigger supermarket. However some objections have been on very sound planning reasons; including that the summerfields shops are a neighbourhood shopping area, and therefore should not have a ‘destination store’ (which is what the biggest Lidl store in the country would be) built. Cheshire East’s is now planning on changing the designation of the summerfields shops to get around this.

Other objections have been about a white and glass building which will be out of keeping with the brick and pitched roofs neighbouring businesses, the local plan calls for a diverse range of facilities this proposal shuts one business. The transport plan in the application is totally at odds with the main body of the Lidl application. There are many many more legitimate planning objections within the 500 or so sent to Cheshire east. The planning officer still chose to recommend the project. I am sorry to say there is a total disconnect between what planning regulations should be there for and what Cheshire east seem to be doing to our community.
Jackie Pass
Friday 26th January 2018 at 7:55 am
"If this plan is flawed it will be rejected". Oliver this is so touching.
Mark Goldsmith
Friday 26th January 2018 at 4:36 pm
The Lidl planning application is riddled with mistakes and contradictions. The planning officer starts by saying this is "a Neighbourhood Centre and not a Town Centre and indeed the Lidl store is listed as an out-of-centre location". However, they later switch to "the proposal is for a main town centre use".

However, there is absolutely no evidence for this classification switch but mountains of evidence against it. But this key distinction means Lidl bypasses several important planning requirements, such as:

a) Sequestional Testing: Has Lidl looked at other sites before this one? Obviously not, given the recent Halliwell Jones news that they want to relinquish their Summerfields site.

b) Impact Test. Will it have an adverse effect on local businesses and the Town Centre? Highly likely it would fail this test. This would be Lidl's largest UK store and they are spending this money to get a financial return. That return comes from extra business.

c) "Town Centre First" policies in the Local Plan. This same planning dept just spent £3.7m on this plan, so why are they now ignoring it for Lidl?

d) Plus many other other local Plan policies including reducing single passenger car use and the availability of leisure facilities within walking distance of major residential areas. The original Summerfields planning permission also restricts stores to half the size of this proposal.

Add to this the case officer totally ignored Wilmslow Town Council's objection that the need for a new Lidl store is "not proven". There is nothing in the application to show a new store is needed by the community rather than just wanted by Lidl.

Finally, the case officer even totally ignored our MP, Esther McVey whose letter made it expressly clear this is not a "Town Centre" site.

So why did the case officer ignore all this (and more) in favour of Lidl? An honest mistake? Are they on work experience from school? Or is it something else? As the article above states "Lidl are paying mebabucks to landlords who will release land to them". The Energie landlord (who will sell to Lidl but only if they get planning permission) has strong links in Wilmslow and somehow gets what it wants in planning matters, regardless of the cost to the community.

Add to this two Cheshire East officials are under investigation for falsifying air quality data in planning applications, the ex-leader of the council is under police investigation for alleged corruption and several senior managers have recently left under a cloud too. Perhaps you can now see why Residents of Wilmslow recently asked the Secretary of State to put Cheshire East into Special Measures?

Our only hope now though is that the Conservative members of the Northern Planning Committee finally wake up from their slumber and reject this application. They now need to start acting like the planning police they should be. Instead they all too often treat these meetings like an extended lunch club, where they approve anything the planning department put in front of them.

Lidl MUST be made go through the proper due planning process. Especially as other sites are now available to them in this vicinity. Ones that wont mean the destruction of a well used leisure facility and associated jobs for our community.

Let's hope Cheshire East finally does the right thing when they next get the chance.


Cllr Mark Goldsmith, Wilmslow Town Council (Residents of Wilmslow)
Nick Jones
Friday 26th January 2018 at 5:16 pm
Thanks once again for the clarity Mark,

Surely this is a further reason CEC should be reported to Secretary State for communities and local Govt ?

Any observations from our silent CEC Cllrs ???...
Jim Griffith
Friday 26th January 2018 at 6:04 pm
Mark Goldsmith

Energi closed at Christmas in a CVA owing money to its creditors. What are your plans for the derelict Energi site if the Lidl application is refused? You seem to be unaware of this with your reference to loss of 'a well used leisure facility', There is a miniscule chances of this failing business being replaced by a new owner with zero membership.

It might be the biggest Lidl at 27,000 square feet but is only about twice the size of a city centre Tesco Metro and about the same size as the Marks and Spencer Handforth Dean extension. It is very misleading to describe a 27,000 square feet store as a 'destination store' as others have done here.

You could be concerned about sequestional testing (Lidl shoppers talk of little else!). However, if you really want to know if this store is needed or wanted on the Energi site just stand outside Lidl on Saturday morning and ask a random sample of shoppers if they want a larger store. You don't even need to do that, just go in and look at the crowded aisles. Has any councillor considered that approach?

Alternatively you might go to Knutsford and see the success of a similarly extended Aldi store and the wider range that they can now offer.

Of course the many voices of these ordinary people looking for low prices and surprisingly good quality not offered by our town supermarkets are not heard here.
Martin Kitchin
Friday 26th January 2018 at 6:41 pm
Hi Jim,

I hope this helps explain what's happened & why.

(1) NEED :

You talk about whether this store is needed and by whom.

Have a look at the 400 + objections from residents on the Cheshire East Planning portal (the "ordinary voices" you refer to) and the 600 name petition.

Conversely, the number of "Give Me Big Lidl" emails is around. . . . 30. Oddly some of those seem to have been initiated by Lidl GmbH.



(2) CONSTRUCTION :

Maybe then go on to have a look at the plans, the cheap to build, glass & metal modular construction, the mono pitch roof and its proximity to existing homes.


(3) CVA :

Please read the para 1 of the analysis done by Richard Armstead (25/1/2018) which explains precisely the sequence of events.


(4) QUEUES & CROWDS :

This issue has also been done to death.

It's widely known the problem could be solved with more resources (should Lidl GmbH chose) And we've been patient and regular customers of dear old Lidl GmbH for donkeys years.


(5) APPLICATION :

Rest assured Jim that experts have studied the application very carefully.

As Mark Goldsmith & Richard Armstead it genuinely is riddled with mistakes and contradictions.


Kind Regards,

Martin
Martin Kitchin
Friday 26th January 2018 at 6:53 pm
* as Mark Goldsmith & Richard Armstead explain ! *
Helene Marshall
Friday 26th January 2018 at 9:01 pm
Jim Griffiths - you say the following ‘Alternatively you might go to Knutsford and see the success of a similarly extended Aldi store and the wider range that they can now offer.’

If you read Lidl’s application it states they do not intend to stock many extra lines, just a few bakery products. So there will be no ‘wider range’
Paul Roue
Friday 26th January 2018 at 10:46 pm
Hi Jim Griffiths

Helene Marshall hits the nail on the head.

I ask you Jim, what savvy business builds the biggest store in its portfolio for more bakery lines, a bigger staff room, customer toilets & wider aisles ?

None.

You know, it's all a bit disingenuous isn't it?

Another reason then why the Lidl GmbH planning application is so flawed.

Regards,

Paul.
Jim Griffith
Saturday 27th January 2018 at 1:43 am
Jackie Pass

You talk nostalgically about the Sainsbury’s in Wilmslow. I have lived in Wilmslow since 1976. As a Southerner I was delighted that it was being built. It was one of their first ventures beyond Southern England. The planning application was greeted with a storm of protest. It would damage MacFisheries, Lipton’s, Woolworths Grocery section. It did as it should. It is called competition and consumer choice.

Sadly so many natural necessary changes are routinely opposed. A check of contributors to this site reveals the same names in opposition. I am not quite a lone contrary voice.

I really don’t want to be dismissive but many of the arguments here about traffic, destination store, huge effect on Wilmslow trade, locate Lidl in the town centre are so ill informed and wildly exaggerated that it is difficult to know how to respond.

The additional sales from a larger Lidl will impact on Waitrose, Sainsbury’s in Wilmslow and Tesco and Marks and Spencer at Handforth Dean and possibly Sainsbury’s at Cheadle. The larger Lidl will be about the same size as the Marks and Spencer Handforth Dean expansion. There will be some effect on these large stores and other retailers like Tesco Express but please stop talking about huge impact and patent nonsense about traffic. The named stores were probably all built despite planning objections. There is no need to protect them. It is called competition. Lidl and Aldi are growing rapidly and majors are having to adapt. All very healthy for the economy.

Valid objections tend to be lost when they are accompanied by wild exaggerations like the use of the word gridlock for what the planning traffic section shows to be a minimal increase in traffic.

I am pleased that although heavily outnumbered there are one or two voices who share that view. Remember that the now apparently so ‘valuable’ lost Energi site was built despite a storm of protest. In particular it’s proximity to housing and long opening hours. There is a pattern to this.
Jackie Pass
Saturday 27th January 2018 at 8:57 am
Jim, I don't talk nostalgically of Sainsburys. I know the furore that caused and I don't object to competition.

The point about Sainsburys is that they were prepared to make concessions. Concessions to the neighbours who live at the back. Concessions over delivery times. Concessions about the visual impact of the building. Concessions over not owning the carpark. They made concessions and they were conforming to policy by being in the town centre.

In contrast, Lidl are not prepared to make concessions. No concession over extending sideways and upwards. No concession over delivery and opening hours. No concessions over the style of the building so it is less incongruous against the existing houses and Neighbourhood Shopping parade. All of this and not conforming to policy. If Lidl were to put in for an extension on the existing store which matched the other end of the shopping parade would people object? No. That would keep the current store, albeit extended. It would have kept the community facilities at Energie.

Competition on the high street is good. Lidl is not "on the high street". Policies are there to create a level playing field. As far as I can see that is not what Lidl want.
Martin Kitchin
Saturday 27th January 2018 at 9:57 am
Hello Jim,

Look at my comments of 26 January.

Regards,

Martin
Jim Griffith
Saturday 27th January 2018 at 11:43 am
Martin and Jackie.

This is my last word on this. I have just returned from Lidl and there are customers complaining about the ridiculous congestion in the aisles. I challenge you to go there at 11am on Saturday and say that more space is not needed. It has very little to do with the number of checkouts open. The queues are short but the aisles are extremely crowded with irritated shoppers reversing trolleys to find a way of passing.through the store

I have not counted them but there are approximately 30 check out points in shops selling food in Wilmslow. There are at least another 30 at Handforth Dean. The new Lidl will probably have three more than now. That means that the new competition will be about 7% in total for the area.

If the extra three customers all rush in cars to the roundabout hotly followed by three more it will not be gridlock.

Please stop exaggerating the case with 'huge impact' claims and weigh properly the valid arguments against an extended (not new) store against the clear evidence in Wilmslow and elsewhere that there is burgeoning demand for the Lidl/Aldi style of retailing.

The Blackford case in Wilmslow Park is similar. There are very strong reasons to oppose the development. Hysterical local posters about these 5 (?) houses 'changing the Park for ever' and they even have 'balconies!' are just provocative. York Crescent, Rodeheath, Fairford and Blenheim Close really did change it for ever but that is where many of the local protesters now live in their often heavily extended houses. Pure nimbyism and unhelpful exaggeration about what is actually a deeply flawed application.

Martin.

I have read your post. Just to clarify what do you propose for the would be defunct Energi site?
Mark Goldsmith
Saturday 27th January 2018 at 11:57 am
@Jim Griffith

Hopefully you finally grasp these points, though I suspect you may never alter your opinion. But:

a) Energie made a profit for the past 7 years. It's CVA was a direct result of the Lidl application. Surprisingly, not many people want to pay 12 months membership to a gym that might soon close. This forced them into the CVA.

b) Yes, I do know Energie has closed down. Mainly because I was a member there for the past 18 years until it closed. I live about half a mile from Summerfields but I have also been a weekly shopper at the Lidl store during the past 18 years too (and was again this morning). So I know both facilities very well and want BOTH facilities to remain at Summerfields. I see no reason why this cannot happen.

c) What the Energie site becomes in the future is irrelevant. We can only judge the application put in front of us. There is also more chance of new owners getting the gym backup again if it stays, than if it is knocked down. It worked before, so it can work again. Even if Energie did fail (it didn't - see point a) then your logic would mean every failed shop or pub could also be knocked down instead of getting in new tenants. This clearly doesn't make much sense as a planning policy.

d) Sequential Testing is part of the due planning process. As is the "Town Centre First" policy of the £3.7m Local Plan. You may not understand any of this, nor the planning process but until it is changed to include "just ask a few Lidl customers if they can have a new shop or not" then we must work with what we have got. The planning process was not followed. Summerfields is clearly not in Wilmslow Town Centre. The Local Plan was deliberately bypassed. All of which, are very credible grounds to reject this planning application.

e) Aldi in Knutsford is in its Town Centre. It is not 1.2 miles from it. Therefore, this example is not a very good one.

I understand you want a new Lidl at all costs. I too think the Lidl store at Summerfields is tired and needs refreshing. But I do not think we need a new store AT THIS COST.

Regardless of yours or my views though, the due planning process was bypassed and is there for a reason. Therefore, this application should be refused and the due process followed.
Jim Griffith
Saturday 27th January 2018 at 12:08 pm
Larger Lidl not extended
Martin Kitchin
Saturday 27th January 2018 at 6:42 pm
Hi Jim Gridifiths,


(1) RECREATION & LEISURE

The site has always been earmarked for ' recreation and leisure ' . For decades. See all the Cheshire East (& MBC) documentation which sets the precedent and has been reviewed by resident's technical experts

When the population is for ever getting more and obese (not moi I hesitate) how about say...'.recreation and leisure' . Spire, Nuffield, Total 2, Bannatynes, Virgin, dear old Cheshire East perhaps ?

Sorry to nag Jim but have you looked at the detail within the application & Lidl GmbH 's " Leisure Needs Analysis ' report ?


(2) QUEUES & CROWDS


Incidentally we were in Lidl today Saturday at 1030 & then again at 1435. ( note to self write shopping list next time !)

Just the 2 tills open. Queues 5 deep. Old and young. Poor staff run ragged as usual. Boxes, cages everywhere. Apparently under staffed, again !


(3) BUSINESS RATIONALE

Please have a look at Paul Route's comments above of 26.1.18.


Kind Regards,

Martin K
Jon Armstrong
Saturday 27th January 2018 at 11:00 pm
More smoke and mirrors and twisted facts. In the last three years Energie revenue has been falling at a rate of around 10% per year. In the last financial year they made £8k gross profit. Hardly worth getting out of bed for the owners. In their best year in the last three they made 2% gross profit. This isn't a thriving business: it was one on the slide that if things continued at the same rate would have lost money this financial year. Mark presumably knows this as he must have looked at the public accounts to state they made a profit for the last 7 years, but as it doesn't fit his agenda he glossed over the fact the figures slow that the business was clearly struggling. Saying the CVA is a direct result of Lidl is misleading at best. The owners probably saw the Lidl offer as salvation.

"I understand you want a new Lidl at all costs." More hysteria and exaggeration. Who said anything about at all costs? Point me to any quote from anyone that says they want a Lidl whatever the cost. You can't. Knocking down a barely breaking even gym isn't "at all costs" by any rational measure of the phrase.

Martin is no different. His very first "fact" in his most recent numbered list is false. "The site has always been earmarked for ' recreation and leisure." Always? Really? Everything there or nearby was something else a few decades ago or less. Even Martin's house. Some have changed use several times. Houses. A school. A farm. An RAF base. Things change and always have.

Just say "I don't want it near my house". It is ok to say that without all this other stuff.
Jim Griffith
Sunday 28th January 2018 at 1:12 am
I said that I will stop and I will save for your very misleading comment on the financial health of Energi (of which I was a five year and more founder member). It has been a basket case for years. Shareholders Funds in 2014 were negative £98,000 in 2014 and negative £90,000 in 2015 representing years of bare survival or failure. In 2015 it was barely surviving with a profit of £8,000 on sales of £912,000 and very unhealthy Net Current Liabilities of £74,000 representing deep trouble. Big bad Lidl was not the problem.

Process, Process. The same meticulous process that deprived us of an M & S foodstore and gave us the blight of yet another garish phone shop and jewellers appealing to perhaps 0.1% of Wilmslow residents. Results Results

No more from me.
Jackie Pass
Sunday 28th January 2018 at 9:21 am
Just to be clear. "Last three years". I think you will find that negotiations with Lidl and the probably the local authority have been going on "for the last three years". Having attended the last meeting it was made clear that once rumours of what might happen emerged then the writing was on the wall for membership. So I don't think that that you can judge the financial viability of the company overall on what has taken place in the "last three years".
Martin Kitchin
Sunday 28th January 2018 at 10:21 am
Hi Jim Griffiths,

Thanks for your comments, sometimes it's hard to resist isn't it ?

You know Jim, there's a huge difference between a retail development on Alderley Road in the REAL town centre (if that's what you are referring to) and the biggest Lidl in the UK within feet of bedroom windows out of the town in Summerfields Village.

Particularly when planning wise it requires the demolition of a "community recreation & leisure facility on an established mixed use site."

And as for the recreation and leisure aspects, I know its a decent enough day outside but do have a look at the planning application and Lidl GmbH's " Leisure Needs Analysis" (LNA).

Rest assured this application had been looked at very carefully by technical experts.

As many people are saying Jim, it's flawed.

And this you see is why Cheshire East Northern Planning Committee ( NPC ) deferred their decision on 6th December. Crikey, all these acronyms.

Right, there's some gardening to be done !

All the best Jim,

Martin
Jon Armstrong
Sunday 28th January 2018 at 11:05 am
Please point me to some evidence for this? You are presented with facts and reply with "probably" and "rumours".

The first report of Lidl's plans to expand on this site appeared on 22 June 2017. In it, the owner of the gym said, "Recently we have been advised that the supermarket giant, Lidl, has approached our landlord with a view to purchasing the land." Just to be clear, are you calling him a liar? He said he didn't know about this until recently, but you say he's been negotiating with them for three years.

You said the poor financial performance of the gym in at least the last three years was due to the membership knowing the "writing was on the wall". However, on this site it was reported that many members were not even aware it was closing and turned up to find the doors shut. If it was as widely known enough for the last three years to cause serious financial problems with the business, why wasn't it reported before June? Why did the groups opposing it not swing into action three years ago, when they had a better chance of stopping it? That would seem rather remiss of them.

Like Jim, I'm tired of this. I understand some people don't want the supermarket, but the exaggeration, false facts and wilful misinterpretations is getting nobody (including those in opposition) anywhere.
Jackie Pass
Sunday 28th January 2018 at 12:53 pm
Jon. As I said the "evidence" is the Northern Planning Meeting in December. You can listen to "the evidence" here http://bit.ly/2Eg7wk2
Simon Worthington
Sunday 28th January 2018 at 2:09 pm
I read the above with a mixture of amusement, bemusement and bewilderment. Whatever subterfuge Lidl have employed around the country it comes as no surprise. Their landlord has been at it for decades.
However to dwell on a few points.
The couch potatoes in support are vastly outweighed by those against.
The gym area is designated for leisure and recreation within an area for local amenities.
Lidl sell just as much imported produce as all the other supermarkets. If you have a strong stomach check how the American pork at Costco is produced.
Visit any supermarket in the country at 11am on Saturday or Sunday and it will be rammed. Empty from 8-10am and after 6.30pm. There seems to be a mindset that some think supermarkets are only open for a few hours at weekends.
I stopped shopping at Lidl on a Saturday morning when calling at the best chippy around (complimentary chips next time Alex) when it became busier and busier with middle class couples standing in the aisles oohing and aahing at the "bargains". Perhaps the aisle blocking could be lessened if a few of the retired gentlemen (who trail round bored to tears poking at things they have no intention of buying) could persuade their wives that accompanying them was not necessary.
The roundabout junction onto the bypass was blocked continually on Saturday lunchtime as it frequently is due to very poor design and single lane access to the bypass.
If the garage is going then perhaps the outdoor display area could be used by shoppers as a carpark as intended and Lidl could do the obvious and expand into the existing carpark to the side.
As an annoyed gym member I have voted with my wallet and spent around £15 at Lidl in January instead of doing most of my monthly shopping there and will continue that way. Hopefully other ex gym members will do the same.
Having checked the other local gyms I am even more disappointed with the closure of Energie where the gym/swim/classes etc. satisfied the requirements of hundreds of members.
Martin Kitchin
Sunday 28th January 2018 at 2:33 pm
Hello Jon,

As Jackie Pass and others who were there at the meeting have said, look at the application and listen to the Northern Planning Committee (NPC) .


(1) No false facts

(2) No exaggeration . There's no need to. The application is flawed.


All the best,

Martin
Mark Goldsmith
Monday 29th January 2018 at 11:08 am
@Jon Armstrong

Whether Energie is profitable or not is irrelevant and a smoke screen argument. Wilmslow Leisure Centre doesn't make a profit either, so should that now become an ASDA?

How about the library going or Wilmslow High School too? Neither of these make any money and plenty of people would prefer a cinema to a library or would use a Morrissons but not a school. So why not?

Well, because we need a mix of services for our community and because planning is about the building not its current tenants. We don't allow the owners to knock down the Rex building just because Multi-York went bust and Barkers is leaving. Instead they get new tenants.

The key point is the planning officer pretended this area is Wilmslow Town Centre to bypass planning requirements. Requirements that every other retailer in Wilmslow (and the country) have to go through. Lidl should have to go through them too for this application, regardless of the different outcomes any of us may want.

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