ALDI’S plans to build a new food store in Bromsgrove, regenerating the area off Birmingham Road and bringing 40 jobs are in doubt after district council planning officers recommended the development for refusal.
A survey carried out by the supermarket giant showed 83 per cent of the public supported the proposals, which would see the area benefit from a multi-million pound investment.
But officers have outlined concerns about the development and are urging councillors to throw out the application when it goes before the planning committee on December 7.
Officers claim the assessment of the site in relation to the possibility of bats living there was inadequate and more checks need to be done including the ‘extent to which compensation for loss of habitat including foraging areas and roosting opportunities, may be needed’.
They also state in their report that the siting, scale, bulk and design of the frontages which face out onto Stourbridge Road and Birmingham Road are too bland, especially with four Grade II listed buildings in the area.
An Aldi spokesperson said the company was very disappointed by the officers’ recommendation.
“Aldi is committed to investing in Bromsgrove and we’re confident our proposal can be delivered.
“It is frustrating that, having spent time to understand the aspirations of the local community, and following months of conversations with the council, obstacles are now being presented that could jeopardise yet another regeneration scheme in Bromsgrove.”
After voicing their concerns, officers asked Aldi to withdraw the application but, due to a binding contractual agreement to purchase the land, Aldi is unable to withdraw.
An Aldi spokesperson claimed council officers have refused to extend the time the application was considered to discuss their concerns, adding it had taken great care to ensure the design of its proposal respects the character of the area.
“The plans would remove the existing large-scale building from the site, and an existing tree screen is already in place which would shield proposed store from the listed building on Stourbridge Road.”
Officers have also suggested that the store should be moved to sit alongside Birmingham Road. Aldi has examined this suggestion carefully, and concluded that this would not allow for access off Birmingham Road, as agreed by the Highways Department.
The final decision rests with members of Bromsgrove District Council’s Planning Committee, who will vote on the application on December 7.
Aldi hopes that councillors will recognise the benefits of its proposal and support of the local community when making a decision.
Residents wanting further information on the plans can call 0800 298 7040 or visit www.aldiconsultation.co.uk/bromsgrove