Lidl could be on its way to city

PUBLISHED: 12:19 09 August 2007 | UPDATED: 12:43 04 May 2010

Lidl

Lidl

GIANT German supermarket chain Lidl is making a bid to come into Ely directly opposite the Tesco store in Angel Drove. The company, which has 380 discount food stores nationwide, has bought the site of EMG Motors and Hanson Concrete. It wants to build a 1

GIANT German supermarket chain Lidl is making a bid to come into Ely directly opposite the Tesco store in Angel Drove.

The company, which has 380 discount food stores nationwide, has bought the site of EMG Motors and Hanson Concrete.

It wants to build a 1,342 square metre supermarket on the site with 76 car parking spaces and create up to 40 new jobs.

Lidl has been looking for a site in the city since 1994 and, if granted planning permission, expects its new supermarket to open in two years.

It is seeking permission to demolish the present car showroom and build an access road to the rear of the one-acre site where it has future plans for new two bedroom homes.

If Lidl gets the go-ahead for its plans, EMG Ford, which employs 15 people, will look for a new base in Ely.

Hanson Concrete, employing three people, has no plans to look for another base in the city. It will relocate its staff to other sites in Cambridgeshire.

Lidl's plan will provide a sales area of 1,063 square metres in the new supermarket and work could start in 18 months time.

A Lidl spokesman said: "This is certainly not seen as a rival business to Tesco. It should complement Tesco and allow people to make linked shopping trips or top up their shopping."

Lidl was launched in the 1930s in Germany as a grocery wholesale business. Since then, it has diversified into hypermarkets under the trading name Kaufland and discount food stores under the Lidl brand. Now the company can be found in nearly every country in Europe.

EMG Motors general manager, Jeff Goodacre, said of the site sale: "We took advantage of a substantial offer which was not one that we would have got elsewhere.

He added, that until Lidl gets planning permission, the company is continuing to trade on its present site.

"There is an awful lot of mileage to cover," he said. "If they get planning permission then we will have to put our foot on the accelerator. In the meantime, we are carrying on exactly as we are.

"The city is growing and we are not about to abandon it. We have an excellent customer base and it would be foolish for us to abandon a good business."

David Weeks, spokesman for Hanson Concrete, said the company has 250 sites across the country and there were always people "knocking on the door" keen to buy.

"We are in a very different market," he said. "People don't come to the Ely plant - they call a central sales office and we use independent owner drivers.

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