Location is key for new Lidl store
LIKE the majority of people, I support Lidl s proposal to add their unique style to the retail offer of Ely. But on Angel Drove? The effect of this must be carefully considered. The existing traffic problems in that area are renowned, and although most of
LIKE the majority of people, I support Lidl's proposal to add their unique style to the retail offer of Ely.
But on Angel Drove? The effect of this must be carefully considered. The existing traffic problems in that area are renowned, and although most of us long for a southern by-pass, if the Government agreed to fund this today, it would probably be eight to 10 years before it was opened.
Add to this the exciting planning application for long earmarked business park further up Angel Drove which will bring much needed jobs to Ely, reducing the necessity to travel out of the area for work. This will undoubtedly add some traffic pressure to this area but at least it promotes sustainability.
Then there is the effect on other retailers in Ely. Many correspondents feel, quite rightly, that Tesco need more competition. With only 1,200 product lines, Lidl, by their own admission, are no significant threat to the oversized retail giant. This can only mean one thing - Lidl customers also use Tesco. An own goal perhaps as more city centre users gravitate to Angel Drove damaging the vitality of the City. No surprise therefore that East Cambs planners turned down the application.
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Conversely, a Lidl closer to the rest of Ely's retail centre would add custom to our city benefiting traders, the majority of whom already offer great value for money in a pleasant and diverse environment. It would be more accessible by bus, walking and cycling, and, with the district council's new parking regime, which gives over more space for shoppers and visitors, access by car would be easy too.
Finally, a welcome planning application has just been submitted for the Thurlow Nunn Standen site off Lisle Lane for a supermarket slightly larger than that proposed by Lidl linked for pedestrians to the Market Place via the Vineyards, a natural extension to our city centre.
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A very exciting time for Ely all round, so come on Lidl don't lose out, look seriously for somewhere closer to the city centre - the EMG site would make a great location for residential, ideal for the station, and less car dependant.
(City councillor & chairman of City of Ely Perspective