Decision on supermarket's plans for new larger store deferred again


The decision on 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 has been deferred again.

The Northern Planning Committee met today (Wednesday, 14th February) to consider Lidl's proposal to build a new foodstore at Summerfields, immediately adjacent to their existing store, for the second time. The site iwas occupied by the energi Fitness Club which closed its doors as the end of last year.

Five committee members voted for and five voted against deferral, so it was decided by the Chairman who had the casting vote.

Councillor Craig Browne, who sits on the Northern Planning Committee as Vice Chair, said "The reasons are to allow the officers to engage the applicant in further discussions with a view to them reducing the overall surface area of the store and to explore how this might enable CEC's parking standards to be met (currently the proposal does not provide for an adequate number of parking spaces)."

Lidl's application 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.

The Planning Officer had recommended that the Northern Planning Committee approve the application today, 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."

Lidl, Northern Planning Committee, Planning Applications


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

Jon Newell
Wednesday 14th February 2018 at 4:09 pm
I attended the hearing on 14 February as an interested observer - and local resident and former member of the gym.
I recognise that car parking is a major issue and must be taken into account. What amazed me was that no reference was made to the fact that Halliwell Jones have an outstanding planning application for a new combined facility in Handforth which will result in the Mini showroom at Summerfields village becoming vacant.
Anyone who uses the shops at Summerfield village knows that the Mini dealership uses a huge number of car spaces (for reasons I have never understood) and has a major impact on car parking.
As soon as Halliwell Jones moves on, there will be ample car parking. I know I am assuming that there will not be a motor dealer willing to take on the site - but I am reasonably certain that even if they do, they will not be using the car park as a storage facility as Halliwell Jones appears to have been able to do.
A little bit of joined up thinking, linking the proposed Lidl development with the likelihood of the Mini showroom falling vacant would have been far more efficient and reflect the current reality.
Sitting in the meeting, I could only assume that relevant facts were being kept from the Councillors.
Chris Wigley
Wednesday 14th February 2018 at 4:10 pm
How interesting it is to see members of the planning committee vote against Lidl, they didn't show anywhere near the same backbone in opposing the far more important housing developments in the green belt.
Jon Armstrong
Wednesday 14th February 2018 at 4:26 pm
I've never understood how they get away with storing cars in the car park either. If I was Lidl, Tesco, etc I'd be annoyed that I was losing customers because of it. It doesn't seem much different to if Tesco put a couple of containers in the car park and used then as rent free stock storage.
John Fallows
Wednesday 14th February 2018 at 4:33 pm
Agree with you Jon. I struggled to find a parking space the other day and realised there were 67 & 17 reg BMW's littered all over the car park. They may all have been shopping in Lidl but I doubt it. There have always been cars parked in the row nearest the garage but now they seem to be everywhere. Do they pay for this facility? I presume not - is there not something in their lease to control their activities.
Sandra Cox
Wednesday 14th February 2018 at 4:56 pm
I thought Halliwell Jones stored their new cars at their workshop/paintshop on the business park behind M&S at Handforth Dean. Any new cars would now be registered for 1st March on an 18 plate and the BMWs at Summerfields could belong to customers visiting the charity shops, the vets, the pharmacy, and Tesco or the fish and chip shop. Let's not forget how useful those facilites are - Lidl do not rule the world!
Wednesday 14th February 2018 at 6:11 pm
I attended as an observer at the planning meeting today too. Couldn't believe that only 1 Councillor knew that bus timetables were changing in April. All that money spent on staff in the "communications department" and Lisa knows more than them.
Peter Davenport
Wednesday 14th February 2018 at 9:11 pm
An interesting thought for everyone. Lidl's store has not been inspected by CE's food inspection department for at least 3 years, and since they have a baking section with no washing facilities to hand, and they have known about this for at least 3 months, does not it look odd?
In fact, this is not the only place with no inspection for quite a few years in the area, and should be attended to, as they are the arbiters of public hygiene
Thursday 15th February 2018 at 8:09 am
Sandra, we too value those independent shops. As to the car showroom leaving and freeing up lots of parking, I don't believe that is going to happen. When the garage gets its planning permission on Coppice Way (which now needs a new name since the Coppice has been removed), there will be a large glass box at the entrance to Summerfield Neighbourhood Centre or whatever designation they give it tomorrow, because apparently it currently has 2 designations which don't match; you can bet your bottom dollar that a "drive through burger facility" is already being lined up on the lines of the one near Wickes on the Silk Road.
Deleted Account
Friday 16th February 2018 at 7:42 am
Hello Jackie,

You mention a certain drive through cafe on the Summerfields Village Halliwell Jones Mini site.

I guess it is probably sensitive but is that information about to come into the public domain ?

If it is, we wonder what the thoughts are of the residents in the large Jones Homes houses opposite?

No matter how effective the extraction, the smell will drift into their homes.

And there has got to be a difference between looking out a rows of smart cars and now potentially looking at customers eating fast fried food.
Friday 16th February 2018 at 9:00 am
Martin - simply surmising that people can't assume that because the car showroom is going that there will be more parking. Glass boxes, like the showroom, have a multitude of other uses.
Manuel Golding
Friday 16th February 2018 at 5:30 pm
Shocked to learn that Wilmslow Town Council's chairman of Planning didn't bother to take up the opportunity he would be allowed to put the WTC's planning committee's opposition to the Lidl plan.
The planning officer appeared to attempt to manipulate the NPB members to reverse their decision after he had lost his arguments. Surely he should have been obliged to accept the NPB's decision, not tell them they had got it wrong.
Why did he act in this way?
One councillor stated that the planning officer's and Lidl's application data "didn't add up".
Deleted Account
Sunday 18th February 2018 at 8:25 am

Residents were at the Cheshire East Nothern Planning Committee (NPC) meeting on 14th Feb. We witnessed it all first hand.

Like the application and the officer's recommendations, there's much which, as the councillor said "didn't add up" ?

Residents also noted that the Secretary of State has received a request to intervene on this application.

Interesting times ?
Marc Staples
Monday 19th February 2018 at 9:12 am
Has anyone thought of what will happen to the now disused building if Lidl don't move in !
Given its position at the back of the carpark it may sit empty for years and will fall into dis repair and get vandalised. At the moment Lidl are owners and paying for security to protect the building. If Lidl pull the plug then we are sending out a message to all the squatters, gypsies and undesirables that there is a empty building in a great location. It will only be a matter of time before local people are crying out for the development.
Monday 19th February 2018 at 12:55 pm
Marc - I went to the Northern Planning Committee and I was amazed to hear from the PCSO when asked about whether Lidl have been asked to secure the premises, to hear that she understands that the owner is the leaseholder and that it is not Lidl's responsibility.

Also I nearly fell off my chair when Lidl confirmed that this store at Summerfields Village Centre, would have a larger retail area than the new one at Macclesfield - which is within the town centre and with a larger immediate catchment area, but we are not to worry because it won't sell any new lines and it doesn't anticipate new customers!
Ryan Dance
Monday 19th February 2018 at 9:22 pm
Perhaps the mini showroom could become a cattle shed for the award winning longhorn down the road. The gym... a wild flower meadow....and the Lidl could become a bowling green.

Makes sense to me!

It’s a small retail park. I sincerely hope the anti anything mob have a serious rethink.

Your strategy isn’t working, you have failed at almost every hurdle. I’ll support you when you stop huffing and puffing at every single development!l
Tuesday 20th February 2018 at 8:48 am
Thank you Ryan. Punctual and predictable as usual. Thought you would rise to the bait re Longhorn and I wasn't disappointed.
Ryan Dance
Tuesday 20th February 2018 at 8:03 pm
Thank you Jackie. I’ll never disappoint you Jackie.

Whilst a large swathe of regular contributors continue to disapprove of everything from street design, bin collections, flat roofs, building heights, change of uses applications, car parking, traffic, coffee shops, restaurants, flats, car washes, retirement homes....blah blah.

Whilst at the same very time enjoying 5 bedroom homes with values in excess of +£700k...plonked on large leafy plots...backed in by 3 rather expensive cars on the immaculate resin drive! I’ll find time to respond!

Have a nice evening. Speak soon Jackie.
Deleted Account
Wednesday 21st February 2018 at 4:31 am
Hello Ryan,

Very few of the addresses on the 415 email objections and 600 name petition come from what you describe as being :-

"5 bedroom homes with values in excess of +£700k"

Sorry Ryan but we are not sure what point you are trying to make.


Mark Russell
Wednesday 21st February 2018 at 3:06 pm
Hi Martin,

I think the point Ryan is making (and is valid) certain members of the community complain about everything. You will never win an argument with the council if every application is constantly put down by the same ring leaders. You need to pick your fights, all the council will see is boy that cried wolf, and push them to one side. Even a broken watch is correct twice a day, but you wouldn't use it to tell the time would you?

Maybe if complaints were put in for the bigger developments, like stannylands (which is a joke), and the opening of a new litter bin were just ignored, perhaps the council would take more notice. Plus the people concerned would have more time to concentrate on the one issue, rather than spreading themselves around every application going. I totally understand we live in a democracy, and everybody has the right to complain, but people need to understand from time to time things happen in the area we may not like.
I couldnt give a monkeys about planning permission for a new house, even if its on my doorstep, but i would organise something if they wanted to concrete over the carrs. I know im using extremes but lets be real.

What is the council going to look at, a stack of papers/complaints about 30 different projects, or one complaint with 1000's of signatures?? I know what would worry me as a decision maker....
Deleted Account
Wednesday 21st February 2018 at 9:50 pm
Hello Mark Russell

Residents (from all walks of life & post codes) were at the Cheshire East Northern Planning Committee (NPC) meeting on 14th Feb & we all witnessed it frst hand

As one NPC member said it "didn't add up"

If you have the time please listen to the audio tape on the NPC website and come to the next meeting.

Experts have carefully studied the Lidl planning application and the case officer's recommendations. You are aware I guess that the case has also been referred to the Secretary of State

Residents have learnt a lot. In the wider interests of Handforth, Alderley and Wilmslow we are happy to continue sharing lessons with all just as worthy campaigns.

It's already happening and we have the independent councillors to thank for that.

All the best,

Ryan Dance
Wednesday 21st February 2018 at 10:56 pm
Hello Martin Kitchin.

I’m sure you are able to read between the lines regarding my comments.

My initial comment @ 20:03 followed comments regarding the glass box having multiple uses. Given the fact that this mini retail park (feel free to try and correct me on this description). It has a supermarket, pub, nursery, gym (did), car show room etc I don’t quite understand why contributors take issue with the so called glass box having a change of use?

Let me guess..Traffic? Parking? Litter? Drifting smell? Light pollution? Dear oh dear! Clutching at straws again on this one.

Anything other than a cattle shack for the award winning long horn will solicit a venomous response from the anti anything crew.