It’s store wars!
GIANT German supermarket chain Lidl is confident it will bring its new store to Ely s Angel Drove despite objections from planners. It claims residents have been contacting the company saying the council s rejection of its plans was an injustice . Plann
GIANT German supermarket chain Lidl is confident it will bring its new store to Ely's Angel Drove despite objections from planners.
It claims residents have been contacting the company saying the council's rejection of its plans was an "injustice".
Planners failed to back the project, which would have seen a store built opposite Tesco, because they were unconvinced out-of-town retailing would not harm the vitality and viability of the city centre.
But Lidl is undeterred and will put its plans to the people on Wednesday during an open evening.
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Wendy Hurst, Lidl acquisitions manager, said: "We don't purchase sites if we are not confident we are going to get planning.
"Local people have contacted us to say that they felt the rejection was an injustice. The plan has been very well received by the public and it is quite obvious that people want a Lidl food store.
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"This is very encouraging because when you buy a site you are never 100 per cent sure about the level of support until you get through the application stage.
"We have been interested in opening a store in Ely since the company came to the UK in 1994.
"We are very keen to gain representation in Ely because it is a gateway city with vibrancy about it. We will be resubmitting our application and, hopefully, we can work with the council to achieve a resolution."
Lidl, which owns 380 stores nationwide, bought the Angel Drove site from EMG Motors and Hanson Concrete intending to build a 1,342 square metre supermarket with 76 parking spaces. It would create up to 40 jobs.
Cllr Peter Moakes, chairman of East Cambridgeshire District Council's strategic development committee, said: "We know the people of Ely want Lidl here and we want to see them come to the city - but not on this particular piece of land.
"The site is not appropriate. The traffic would be a nightmare. It is purely a question of practicalities."
The council is waiting for consultants to devise the Ely Master Plan to identify suitable retail areas.
Their report should be completed by Christmas and presented to a special meeting of the strategic development committee in early January.
n Lidl's open evening will take place from 6-7.30pm at the Ely Cathedral Education Centre on Palace Green and representatives and sales teams will be on hand to answer questions about the new store.