Discount supermarket chain Lidl is hoping to give Dunstable another jobs boost by opening a new store on a derelict industrial site.
The company has submitted a plan to Central Beds Council to develop the former Ecomold site in Luton Road, which has lain empty since the firm’s closure in 2008.
Lidl has just announced new store expansion investment in the UK of over £1.5billion for the next three years.
The Dunstable application, which was due to be discussed by Dunstable Town Council’s plans sub committe last night ahead of its ultimate determination by Central Beds planners, involves a 2,439 square metre foodstore , with 121 car parking spaces.
Lidl say the store would provide 40 jobs, which follows last week’s news that Signature Flatbreads’ £10m expansion will bring 200 jobs to Dunstable by 2018, and Saturday’s opening of a new Burger King restaurant which added a further 30 jobs to the mix (see story page 6).
Back in July, the Revelan Group submitted an outline planning application for up to 100 new homes and a retail area on the Ecomold site, and Lidl’s scheme is for that retail space.
A statement from Lidl accompanying its application states: “The site currently lies derelict with just the remnants of previous industrial use remaining. The proposed development will significantly improve the visual appearance of the site, especially from the busy Luton Road.
Lidl adds that the site should no longer be protected for B-class employment use:
It says: “The site has been continually marketed since the property became vacant, as buildings available to let/redevelop and then as a development site for pre-let and sale.
“It is clearly evident from the extensive marketing undertaken that there is little appetite for an employment use on the site.
“Furthermore the opinion is that this land could be marketed for the foreseeable future as a development opportunity with no significant prospects of securing occupiers who are generally attracted to better, less constrained, located employment areas.
“This proposal is for an employment-generating use which will re-introduce jobs on to a site which has long been vacant.”
Lidl concludes that the impact of the proposed store will not have a significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of Dunstable town centre. It states: “It is estimated that the highest diversion of trade to the proposed Lidl store will be from the Asda and Aldi stores in Dunstable, at £0.96m and £0.90m respectively. Collectively, these trade diversions are expected to account for around 40% of the Lidl store’s convenience goods turnover drawn from within its catchment area.”
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