Plans to create a new Aldi supermarket just a few metres from their existing store between Leamington and Warwick has been approved by councillors.
Concerns were raised over the level of parking at the new site on Tachbrook Park Drive which was home to the former Mothercare store but the plans were approved by eight votes to two at last night's (Tuesday's) Warwick District Council’s planning committee.
The scheme will see the existing empty retail unit demolished and the new Aldi built. Plans show that it will be of a contemporary energy efficient design and, unlike other branches, will be timber-clad. A 170-space car park will be shared with the existing Curry’s PC World and will incorporate a number of spaces from the supermarket’s previous site in the neighbouring Queensway.
A report considered by members of the planning committee confirmed that queuing traffic at the Queensway site was often an issue at peak times and this had a potential impact on the A452.
It said that under the council’s own guidelines, the 170 spaces would fall short of the 238 required but added: “A parking accumulation assessment was therefore undertaken by the applicant which shows that the car park serving the proposed Aldi and Curry’s PC World would provide adequate parking, with reserve capacity, and the existing Aldi store would also have spare parking capacity. These results are based only on the assumption that the existing Aldi is restricted so that it is a non-food retail store, which will be secured through the legal agreement as stated above.”
Cllr Colin Quinney (Lab, Leamington Clarendon) said: “As I understand it, the proposed scheme of 170 spaces for the combined area is 68 spaces short. So whereas we are currently living with a 22 per cent shortfall on parking in the current Aldi operation leading to congestion, pollution and so forth, this one will be 29 per cent short of Warwick District Council’s parking standards and yet Warwickshire County Council apparently has done some work to almost disprove our parking standards.
“I’m just wondering if we should give weight to our parking standards and our experience of the current Aldi and its congestion and pollution."
Helena Obremski said the new store would be 22 per cent larger than the existing Aldi store and that there would be a 55 per cent increase in the number of car parking spaces available to shoppers.
She added: “The vehicle parking standards allows for the either over or under provision where it can be demonstrated that that is an acceptable means to deliver a suitable plan for parking.
“What I think is important to note here is that the highways department has monitored this site along with other discount stores in the district so the data we are basing this information on is accurate and up-to-date.”