ALDI Wins The Budget Food Store Race in Ely

PUBLISHED: 19:02 04 August 2008 | UPDATED: 10:29 04 May 2010

By CATHERINE ATKINSON

ALDI has put in a bid to come to Ely as the race to be the first budget food store in the city hots up.

If East Cambridgeshire District Council gives the plans the go-ahead on Wednesday -

By CATHERINE ATKINSON

ALDI has put in a bid to come to Ely as the race to be the first budget food store in the city hots up.

If East Cambridgeshire District Council gives the plans the go-ahead on Wednesday – as is recommended by council officers - Aldi will have pipped their rival Lidl to the post.

The German company, who has a string of stores across the UK, has applied to build a store on the former Thurlow Nunn Standen (agricultural machinery) site on Lisle Lane.

Planners say there are ample opportunities to build a footpath through the Vineyards to link it to the town centre, whereas Lidl wanted to occupy what is classed as an out of town’ site - opposite Tesco at Angel Drove.

The two proposed stores are less than half a mile apart – but crucially one is deemed to threaten the viability of the town centre and the other presents an opportunity to open up the city centre for walkers and cyclists.

Lidl has had applications for a city store repeatedly refused after beginning its bid last November.

The Ely Standard was inundated with letters supporting its bid to open a store in the city, and councillors have come under fire for what some saw as an unnecessary delay in finding a competitor for Tesco.

Plans were broadly welcomed by traders and councillors.

Elaine Griffin Singh, of Ely Traders’ Association, said she was in favour of building a food store on the derelict Thurlow Nunn Standen site.

“From an Ely Traders’ point of view we have always supported the idea of expansion in the Lisle Lane area because it is nearer the town – it is reasonable to say that people will walk through from there,” she told the Ely Standard.

“I’ve always believed that the whole thing about Lidl has been about the site. I don’t think anyone would want to stop supermarket growth in Ely and whether it is a cheap one or a dear one, I don’t think it really affects the town one way or the other.”

Chairman of the planning committee, Philip Read, added: “None of us have anything against Lidl, it’s the business of where these companies go that we are concerned about.”

Although the Ely Masterplan document has formally been ratified, Lisle Lane was marked out as an area for “executive homes” looking out over a country park but developers are keen to build warehouse-style stores on the former industrial sites.

It remains to be seen what impact Aldi’s plans would have on other developers’ bids to come to Ely – two DIY stores are awaiting decisions, both vying to build on Lisle Lane.

Building work will have to start on Aldi by 2011 if councillors decide to let director of development services David Archer negotiate an agreement with the company.

The store already has the support of Ely City Council who lodged no objections to the plans at their July meeting.

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