Aldi plans near completion but no final decision made

Artist's impression of the proposed Aldi store for Wetherby. (S)
Artist's impression of the proposed Aldi store for Wetherby. (S)

The plans for an Aldi store in Wetherby could soon be signed off by planning officers at Leeds City Council (LCC).

This would mean building can start on the former Vauxhall car dealership on Sandbeck Lane, however the final approval depends on several conditions being met.

Before planning permission is signed off, officers must be satisfied that Aldi has contributed £67,354 towards public transport infrastructure and £10,000 towards the improvement of bus stops.

These contributions, known as a section 106 agreement, are still being discussed and must be met within three months. If they are not, the final determination rests with the chief planning officer.

An Aldi spokesman said: “Aldi is delighted that LCC north east plans panel resolved to approve its planning application for a new food store.”

Aldi must also contribute employment and training at the store and a travel monitoring fee of £2,500, and must fund waiting spaces should street parking issues arise.

Wetherby Coun John Procter (Con) reacted warmly to the plans reaching this stage, and said: “When the application came before plans panel I said that if all supermarket operaters approached planning applications in this way life would be a lot easier for communities, and for elected members actually.

“They have worked with council officers, residents who have concerns, and ward members to bring about a reasonable scheme for the town, so I think it will be welcomed and in terms of the process they have handled it very well.”

Coun Procter also said the presence of a ‘value operator like Aldi’ in the town would give people a very real alternative when shopping.

“In an ideal world there would be no residents around the site because you always get conflict. Though there were some concerns, people in the town seem to have welcomed the proposal,” he said.

The plans were first displayed at a public exhibition in November 2013. After a formal planning application was submitted in March 2014, more than 150 Wetherby residents wrote to LCC to support Aldi’s proposal which, according to the chain, represents significant investment in the area, creating 30 new jobs.

After feedback from residents and ward members, Aldi reduced the height of its store by 1.5m and repositioned the building further away from neighbouring boundaries.

l See next week’s edition of the Wetherby News for full coverage of all the changes made to the store plans before construction begins as scheduled in 2015.