EMG Motor Group buy back its Ely site and say Lidl is “out of the frame.”

Ely cathedral

Ely cathedral - Credit: Archant

SIX years after selling its Ely premises to German supermarket giants Lidl, the EMG Motor Group has re-purchased the site and is announcing an investment in the city of more than £2m.

This week EMG regional manager Jeff Goodacre refused to reveal just how much Lidl paid for the Angel Drove premises back in 2007.

But he said the supermarket company – that failed to get planning permission for a supermarket but secured permission for a non food store earlier this year – had “made them an offer they could not refuse.”

He said: “Lidl thought it was a rubber stamp job to open a supermarket opposite Tesco. But we now own the site again, and Lidl are well out of the frame.

“We have now secured the premises and we will continue to serve the local community and the motoring public.

“The re-purchase of property and the refurbishment represents an investment in the city of more than £2m.

“The jobs of our 16 staff are secure, and we may increase their numbers, depending on how we develop our business. We are delighted to be staying in Angel Drove, we feel we have a great future in Ely.”

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EMG – who took over the site from City Ford in 2000 – has promised to reinvest in the premises. “Whilst there was conjecture over what was going to happen, we were not going to spend money on the site. But now we will instigate a refurbishment over the next few months,” said Mr Goodacre.

When EMG sold their premises to Lidl, they had planned to relocate within Ely.

“Ely is a valuable business area for us,” said Mr Goodacre. “We are part of an eight branch group and we were never going to abandon Ely.

“We had looked at opportunities in the city and discussed what was available with the council. “

EMG in Ely are authorised Ford repairers, and although they have no car franchise, they can supply new cars from Kia, Mazda, Fiat and Hyundai from their other franchised sites.

“Having secured the site we can look to future opportunities and may look to take out a franchise for the Ely site if it became available,” added Mr Goodacre

“There has been a lot of speculation over the Lidl planning application and it has been a difficult time for our staff and customers.

A spokesman for Lidl would not disclose the cost of the property sale, but said: “Lidl UK have no immediate plans for a site in Ely, but would like to gain representation to serve Ely or the surrounding area.

“Lidl UK are disappointed that planning permission was refused preventing us providing additional consumer choice to the residents of Ely. However we will continue to review opportunities to gain representation in Ely or the surrounding area.”