THE ALDI store proposed for Longbridge, next to the McDonald’s Drive-Thru has been thrown out by planners.
The application for the 19,504sq ft store on Bristol Road South was rejected and it was revealed Aldi had owned the land for the past 14 years.
More than 160 letters in support of the application had been lodged with just 19 against. They said the store was not needed and it would lead to traffic problems in the ares.
Birmingham City Council’s planning committee rejected the scheme prompting fears the site could remain abandoned for another decade. The land has fallen victim to fly-tipping and travellers.
The council said the plot was a Regional Investment Site which would be more suited to an office-type development.
That, members said, could boost economic growth in the area.
Officers also said they wanted a discount supermarket located in Longbridge Town Centre, next to Smyths Toys nut the German company said it was not suitable, even though it admitted it had enquired about it before.
Council officials subsequently argued the supermarket chain was being inflexible.
They recommended the bid for a store at Bristol Road South be refused – a decision backed by the planning committee.
One member Coun Gareth Moore expressed concerns, saying it was a site that had been neglected for a long period of time.
“I appreciate it is a Regional Investment Site as it has been for many years but nothing has come forward.
“Are any other plans coming forward for this site? We could be faced with seeing this site left vacant for another decade.”
Barry Robinson who lives nearby said many locals were on low incomes and would welcome the prices Aldi is renowned for.
Aldi purchased the land 14 years ago and attempted – unsuccessfully – to gain permission for a supermarket in 2007.
A spokesman said they had been trying to engage with St Modwen, which owns the alternative site next to Smyths, about acquiring it since last year but accused the company of not engaging with them.
Regarding the Bristol Road South plot he said: “How long will the site remain vacant before the council realise what they desired is not achievable and that some development is better than nothing at all?”
He said fly-tipping and illegal occupation had left the site in a poor state and it was crying out for Aldi investment.
It was not viable for high quality office development, the allocated use, and has been unsuccessfully marketed for that use for years.
“In contrast it is an ideal location for an Aldi store.”