Discount supermarket's controversial plans to be considered for second time


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 by the Northern Planning Committee on 6th December 2017 for further clarification on transport and highway implications; liaison with public health department regarding the loss of the gym; an air quality assessment and swimming pool data.

Therefore, the Northern Planning Committee will consider the application for the second time at their meeting on Wednesday, 14th February, starting at 10am in Macclesfield Town Hall.

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 had recommended that the Northern Planning Committee approve the application subject to conditions - stating:

"The proposal seeks to provide a replacement retail store on a site allocated for shopping purposes in the local plan. The comments received in representation have been fully considered. . 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 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.

Lidl, Northern Planning Committee, Planning Applications


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

Mark Goldsmith
Tuesday 6th February 2018 at 3:42 pm
This is clearly NOT a sustainable development as it results in 55 to 60 job losses, which is a clear breach of Sustainability in the Local Plan. Something the Planning Officer goes to great lengths to hide in their recommendation.

There are also numerous other issues with their recommendation, including that they totally fail to mention this application contravenes the original planning approval for Summerfields. This stated "the supermarket should be limited to 13,000 square feet nett". This new application is for 17,814 square feet net. This was to ensure this local development met the needs of the local community and did not detract from Wilmslow Town Centre. Something this new store will clearly do.

There are many, many other inconsistencies with their recommendation as well and I have detailed them to Rachel Bailey, Head of Cheshire East. I will be meeting with her next week to discuss my concerns and the complete lack of governance and consistency within CE Planning. For example the new Lidl store application in Crewe was rejected because of a minor transgression of the Sustainability in Local Plan regarding where the car park was positioned. But Lidl in Wilmslow can totally ignore the same Local Plan Sustainability and a far bigger transgression regarding the loss of 60 jobs.

The news that the Secretary of State is involved means that I am not the only one who has suspicions though and wants Cheshire East to play no part in this planning decision.

Hopefully, this, the fact Cheshire East Planning had the 2nd most complaints made about it in the UK in 2017 and the latest Kings Arms Car Wash Appeal fiasco will finally make Cheshire East sit up and realise this department urgently needs remedial action.

Cllr Mark Goldsmith Wilmslow Town Council (Residents of Wilmslow)
Tuesday 6th February 2018 at 3:47 pm
"Curious and Curiouser".
The Planning Report refers to Counsel's Opinion - but no Counsel's Opinion is on the Planning Portal. If I remember correctly re Adlington Road, Counsels' Opinions went on for all to see. The issues which the the previous committee expressed concerns - two months ago - we are assured there will be "updates". These are released at short notice. Whatever the outcome, is this really the way that residents, - who have a right to all information well in advance of a public meeting, should be treated?
Tony Chester
Tuesday 6th February 2018 at 5:58 pm
I was a member at Energie gym before it was very sadly closed down. I now have to travel to Fit4less in Cheadle. Fair enough, the membership is cheaper every month, but I need to travel to this gym, which means I use my car, which means an impact on the environment as my car uses the exhaust to blow out fumes. We are meant to be trying to protect the environment, not make it worse. The gym which was forced to close has had a massive impact on the people who went there, especially the elder members. Why should they have to go out of their way to use another gym, just because Lidl want to knock it down, and build a bigger store? The one they have now is quite sufficient. There are six checkouts in that store, at any one time only two or three are used, leaving huge queues running down the aisles, with frustrated customers waiting to be served. If business was that important to them, why don't more checkout operators get behind them and actually serve customers, and make money they care so much about? If this existing store is like this now, what's the new store going to be like? That's if permission is granted, which I hope it won't be. Lidl need to look closer home before they even think about getting a bigger store!
Deleted Account
Tuesday 6th February 2018 at 7:04 pm
Hi Tony Chester

We echo your concerns completely about the inaccessibility of the alternative leisure facilities.

Summerfields : Colshaw residents without their own transport find both the Wilmslow, the Stanley Green : Handforth facilities impossible to access on foot.

The first is well over 1.5 km away and the latter, much more.

Both involve trips through woodland towards the end and are not for the faint hearted (particularly when it's dark) or even the less agile. The bus timetable is either non existent or woefully inadequate.

And even if you can get to the exercise classes, they're are fit to burst & over subscribed.

This isn't "wild exaggeration", It's discriminatory and unfair to residents wanting to stay fit and active. It's also hard fact (like Clr Mark Goldsmith's research above .)

All the best,

Jon Armstrong
Tuesday 6th February 2018 at 8:17 pm
It isn't wild exaggeration? "Hard facts"? Ha. Let's fact check...

Alternative facilities "impossible to access on foot". Only if impossible is defined as "a short walk". Anyone going to exercise being put off by 1.5km walk needs to look at themselves. It's not "impossible" by any rational definition of the word.

"Both involve trips through woodland". I suppose it's possible to go by routes that might take you through a little patch of woodland, but are not the ways any sensible person would choose. Going straight down Manchester Road, which from the homes near the existing gym is pretty much the most direct route, you'll encounter nothing like woodland of any description. Heading north, I struggle to think of a route that would involve more than a small patch of trees.

"not for the faint hearted"

And you really don't think that's wild exaggeration? What exactly do you think the high risks are?

"And even if you can get to the exercise classes, they're are fit to burst & over subscribed."

I know of classes in the evenings in Wilmslow where there are frequently less than 5 people showing up. Hardly bursting.
Paul Roue
Tuesday 6th February 2018 at 9:09 pm
Hello Clr Mark Goldsmith,

Thank you for your eloquent presentation of the 'hard facts,& evidence'.

Looking to the future, let's hope another leisure provider steps in once the Lidl GmbH planning application is finally refused by Northern Planning Committee (NPC) on 14th Feb

The greater the number of residents that come along on 14th Feb to the meeting, the better the impression we will give to the NPC Committee members.

As you say, there's huge opposition to this application (415 objections, 600 name & address petition) and comparatively little support (just 25 letters & most are on those templates)

Reassuringly there's also huge technical evidence against the application too.

See you on the 14th then !


Paul & fellow residents.
Paul Roue
Tuesday 6th February 2018 at 9:14 pm
John Armstrong,

Your comments of 6th Feb at 8.17pm discriminate against the physically incapacitated if you’re serious.

An elderly relative was apprehended on the said path.

This is an awful comment and you should be ashamed to even consider it.
Deleted Account
Tuesday 6th February 2018 at 9:19 pm
Hello Jon,

We didn't think people thought like this any more .

If your comments are serious then this is so sad.

Have a thought Jon for the less fit & disabled members of the community that don't have cars, struggle to walk but want to keep fit. Please ?

Chris Bentley
Tuesday 6th February 2018 at 10:53 pm
Yet - if we are to see 3000+ new homes built over the next couple of years - surely having greater choice, larger selection would be a better option than Tesco doubling it's size - and as for the fact that those who move into said New homes will need somewhere to 'hang out as the the schools won't be able to cope, the Doctors won't be able to cope - and at least it will feed the 100's of commuters who will be stuck in the endless traffic congestion.

Why wasn't there as much hooha about the fact that Handforth and Wilmslow are loosing swathes of green spaces - let's kick up a fuss about a supermarket wanting to cope with consumer demands - yet say nothing about 'dodgy manipulated' research - doesn't actually make sense - does it????
Jon Armstrong
Wednesday 7th February 2018 at 7:14 am
I don't know why I'm surprised you respond to be challenged and exaggeration and lies with more exaggeration and lies, but this time you choose to make it personal. You have no valid response to being challenged about the imaginary woodland of Manchester Road (don't you think the planners have a map?) or the exercise classes you couldn't squeeze another person in to (don't you think the council know how many people use their own facilities and can see they aren't bursting at the seams?) so you lie that I have said things or made inferences I haven't.

If you had said, "having to travel to Wilmslow may make it more difficult for disabled people to get to a gym", you may actually have had an actual legitimate argument for rejection. But you didn't. You exaggerated. You can't help yourself. You said it was impossible for residents of Colshaw and surrounds to walk to Wilmslow. This evidently untrue, as hundreds of people do so regularly. Kids going to school. People going shopping. Going to the station. Going to work. It's this kind of thing that shoots you and others on this site in the foot every time, making your objections easier to ignore for those who wish to.

And then when challenged you get personal and and nasty. You do your cause no credit.
Deleted Account
Wednesday 7th February 2018 at 7:32 am
Good Morning Chris Bentley,

You say above that :

" The New homes will need somewhere to 'hang out' "

Yes we agree with you, hang out and keep fit at the local community leisure and recreational facility. It's still there.

Residents want that facility. And what's more the less agile without transport can walk there.

Locals also want to see a fully staffed Lidl GmbH with an expanded 1st floor store room as per their original plan.

There 's room for both shopping and leisure on site.

Anyway work to be done . . . so as Paul Roue says above, please come along to the NPC meeting on 14th Feb.

All the best,

Mark Goldsmith
Wednesday 7th February 2018 at 12:29 pm
@Jon Armstrong: sorry but your comments that people need to look at themselves did make me smile given you are advocating we lose 60 Wilmslow jobs, just so you can get wider aisles during your 30 minute weekly Lidl shop.

Still, each to their own and whether a 25 minute walk is “short” is debateable and whether people feel comfortable doing this through dimly lit passagways is another discussion point but the loss of 60 jobs in Wilmslow is unequivocal.

This alone is clear grounds for this application to be rejected.
Wednesday 7th February 2018 at 1:20 pm
Southern Planning Committee have refused a Lidl hybrid application today in Crewe in an area in need of regeneration. Not surprised, excellent report submitted by the Council for this proposal.
Deleted Account
Wednesday 7th February 2018 at 2:01 pm
Hello Jackie Pass,

Residents say thank you Jackie for the research !

Yes know the site in Mill Street Crewe well & we've just read the case officers report.

It's well balanced, accurate and provides sound reasons for rejection.

Good that Southern Planning Committee members (the southern equivalent of Macclesfield's own Northern Planning Committee (NPC) saw that too.

All the best,

Martin Kitchin
Jon Armstrong
Wednesday 7th February 2018 at 2:10 pm
You misunderstand, Mark. I'm not advocating for Lidl to be built or the gym to go, let alone positioning it emotive terms of jobs. What I'm advocating it actual fact-based opposition which aren't just exaggerations and untruths designed to support someone's position. This helps nobody in Wilmslow. Properly evidenced objections get lost amongst the hysterical nonsense seen so often here that is easy to disprove.

If you read through the above, only Martin is suggesting route through dimly lit passages, as he thinks this supports his case. I pointed out the most direct and safe route is down Manchester Road which is well lit, has good footpaths, is pretty much the most direct way from Colshaw and the one which most rational people would choose, particularly if concerned about safety.
Wednesday 7th February 2018 at 3:22 pm
Jon - I think you and Martin might have been at cross purposes. I took his comment to mean that the Stanley Green: Handforth facilities - that to access these involved a wooded section near the end - that would be the section which links Colshaw with Handforth Dean and is now being developed, but I don't know whether that footpath section is now being moved/redesigned - the plans seem to change on a regular basis. I did take this route to Handforth Dean once but decided that,on balance, it was not a wise choice. Also I have never worked out where walkers actually cross the A34 at Handforth Dean to reach the swimming pool at Total Fitness. I have managed to walk to Total Fitness but only by going down Woodford Road and using the network of footpaths in Stockport which took me through the old Ministry of Defence land - that took a while - but it did bring me out at the back of Total Fitness. That route was very overgrown.
Deleted Account
Wednesday 7th February 2018 at 4:20 pm
Hello Jon Armstrong,

I've just had a friend with transport 'clock' the distance up to Total Fitness from Colshaw : Summerfields and its 2.6 miles.

Like Jackie, they couldn't find a safe foot path for pedestrians to use

Its no exaggeration then to say Total is inaccessible unless you've your own transport. The same would apply to the other recreation and leisure facilities on Stanley Green

The less agile without vehicles haven't much of a chance really have they ?

Anyway Jon apology for any possible confusion is accepted.

See you on the 14th February at the Northern Planning Committee (NPC) ? Come & say hello please.

All the best,

Roger Bagguley
Wednesday 7th February 2018 at 4:56 pm
The issue is that what is being applied for is of size suitable for a town centre site and not a neighbourhood centre where the community is best served through a variety of shops and other local facilities

The reference to some 3000 new homes is misleading in that they will not be within the Dean RoW community but around Handforth. One assumes the Handforth Village, when it arrives, will have its own neighbourhood centre with Lidl and all other supermarket traders vying for the opportunity to set up a store to serve the locals.

Sainsbury's and Tesco are large out of town supermarkets for those who drive or bus etc to do their weekly shop. It is not the intention to have vehicles travelling from afar to clog up the car park of a neighbourhood centre.
Julie Smith
Wednesday 7th February 2018 at 9:48 pm
If the application is refused will the gym reopen and the 60 staff re-employed or will we be left with yet another empty commercial premises?
Estelle Lewis
Wednesday 7th February 2018 at 10:38 pm
Re parking issues. Once the BMW/Mini showroom relocates there should be about 30 to 40 more parking spaces free.
Thursday 8th February 2018 at 8:18 am
Estelle - those parking places won't be needed. The planning officer says that there are only going to be 70 odd car movements on an average Saturday!
Simon Worthington
Thursday 8th February 2018 at 2:35 pm
Wonder why they need to expand if only 35 people in cars are going to visit. This whole (extra) fiasco reminds me of a sort of reverse example. Sainsburys in Wilmslow were intructed on obtaining planning permission all those years ago that they must build either a rooftop or underground carpark. The condition was removed after a half million pound offer to build a leisure centre was accepted. I don't recall the old Macc MP being involved.