Town council objects Knaresborough Lidl plans in support of residents

Concerned residents have been supported by Knaresborough Town Council (KTC) over a controversial development plan for a site just off Chain Lane.

Wednesday, 13th April 2016, 4:14 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th April 2016, 4:17 pm
One of Lidl's new concept stores which has just opened in Bingham. Picture: Andrew Willoughby

Homeowners from the area had the opportunity to express their worries over the proposed Lidl store on the site of the old Co-op at a KTC meeting on April 11.

Following their representations, the town council voted to object the application which is due to go before the planning committee at Harrogate Borough Council (HBC).

Chair of the Knaresborough Town Council, Coun John Batt said: “The council doesn’t object to a store being there, there is a definite need for a store being there.

“The thing we are concerned about is the ‘concept store’ which is the design for it. It is made primarily of glass and steel and wouldn’t fit into the residential area.

“It would go nicely into a business park somewhere like St James’ and much of the residents are of the same mind. They want something that will blend in with the rest of the area.

“It doesn’t make sense to put something that will stick out like a sore thumb right on the corner of Chain Lane in such a prominent position.

But with the concept store the standard new design for all new Lidl locations, the company claims they also investigated other options.

A spokesperson for Lidl said: “When Lidl purchased the site a number of layout options were reviewed, including the potential use of the existing Co-op building. However, it was concluded that the existing building is not fit for purpose as a modern supermarket and does not meet modern standards for energy efficiency.

“Lidl understand that the town council have raised concerns over the number of deliveries the new store will receive per day, however, the new store will remove the need for a significant number of daily deliveries due to increased on-site warehousing capacity.”

Amongst concerns over the design and height of the building KTC also noted that there is no provision of a chemist or post office in Lidl’s plans.

Coun Batt said: “They say it’s not a two storey building but they are putting a mezzanine in and to my mind that is a second storey.

“They have got to consider their neighbours, the Co-op has always been a good neighbour and Lidl has to show the same amount of consideration that the Co-op did

“It was a community store that provided a chemist, a post office, these sort of things need to be provided as well, they need to be a part of the community.”

With nothing to replace the facilities provided by the former Co-op, pharmacy chain, Boots have submitted their own plans for the site.

An application to set up a two temporary pharmacy and health care units was submitted by the company in March.

The plan states: “These two facilities will stand on site for approximately two years until an agreement between the Landlord Lidl and Boots has been made to have a more permanent facility.”

Now Coun Batt, who sits on the HBC planning committee has said he is considering stepping off when the Lidl application is considered in order to represent Knaresborough residents.