Council blocks a supermarket bid as harming centre's vitality and viability'

PUBLISHED: 10:50 08 November 2007 | UPDATED: 13:01 04 May 2010

AMBITIOUS plans by German supermarket chain, Lidl, to bring one of its stores to Ely have been blocked. The project for Angel Drove has been rejected by East Cambridgeshire District Council because it is worried that it would harm the vitality and viabil

AMBITIOUS plans by German supermarket chain, Lidl, to bring one of its stores to Ely have been blocked.

The project for Angel Drove has been rejected by East Cambridgeshire District Council because it is worried that it would harm the "vitality and viability" of the city centre.

Ely City Councillors had already refused to give their backing to the scheme which would have seen a new store built opposite Tesco.

Lidl, which owns 380 stores nationwide, bought the land from EMG Motors and Hanson Concrete intending to build a 1,342 square metre supermarket with 76 car parking spaces. It would have created up to 40 new jobs.

The company had been looking for a site in the city since 1994 and expected to open the new supermarket in two years if its plans were successful.

But David Archer, East Cambridgeshire District Council's development director, said: "The council carefully considered Lidl's case for locating on the edge of Ely but remained unconvinced that out-of-town retailing would not harm the vitality and viability of the centre.

"The scheme did not demonstrate any significant improvement to this important gateway into Ely.

"The council has now commissioned consultants to prepare the Ely Master Plan which will work towards resolving proposals for future retailing development which will primarily focus on the city centre.

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