A discount retailer's controversial planning application to demolish a former gym and their existing store so they can replace it with a new larger store, is scheduled to be determined next week.
Lidl's application to build a new foodstore at Summerfields, adjacent to their existing store, was deferred for the second time by the Northern Planning Committee on February 14th for 'further discussions to take place with the applicant regarding a reduction in the size of the building alongside appropriate conditions regarding the sales floor space and to discuss how the parking standards could be met'.
Therefore, the Northern Planning Committee will consider the application for the third time at their meeting on Wednesday, 9th May, starting at 10am in Macclesfield Town Hall.
Further to the meeting of the Northern Planning Committee on February 14th, Lidl has submitted revised plans reducing the floor area of the store from 2480sqm to 2292sqm gross and 1655sqm to 1577sqm net, and increasing the number of parking spaces from 136 to 155.
Wilmslow Town Council has recommended refusal of the revised plans on the grounds that the development is not in the town centre but in a local neighbourhood shopping environment therefore detracting from the town centre and being out-of-keeping with the shopping area in terms of its size.
Additionally they stated that "the proposal is contrary to policies in the emerging Neighbourhood Plan that directs developments of this scale and geographical draw to the Town Centre. Whilst improved, the proposed car-parking provision remains inadequate."
Since the deferral of the application, 13 letters of representation have been submitted objecting to the proposal. The issues raised include: loss of gym; increased traffic; residents have access to large number of supermarkets already; building not suitable in residential area; loss of trees; increased noise; it is a town centre sized development and will change the nature of the area.
Two letters of support were also received noting that the Energie site is unused and has had unwelcome visitors; it will be an asset to the area and the old store is tired and unfit for purpose.
The Planning Officer is recommending the application for approval stating "The applicant has reduced the size of the store, which has also facilitated the provision of additional parking spaces. Whilst this provision is marginally below the standard recommended within Appendix C of the CELPS, having regard to the existing situation on site and the 149 spaces available on the adjacent public car park, adequate car parking is available for the staff and customers of the proposed development.
"The proposed store is smaller than the existing gym building, which is a main town centre use as defined in the Framework. The proposed store is therefore substantially smaller than the two main town centre uses on the site (the existing store and the former gym) and results in a reduction in floorspace of 1811sqm overall. The site is within an identified shopping area, and there is no requirement for a sequential test to be undertaken or a retail impact assessment to be carried out. However, the applicant has undertaken both these exercises which demonstrate that there are no sequentially preferable sites and there is no significant adverse impact upon Handforth or Wilmslow town Centres."
The Secretary of State has received a request to intervene on this application, therefore if approved the application will be referred to the Secretary of State and subject to the necessary clearance.