Cheltenham to get new Lidl store - despite opposition from locals

Units one to five at the industrial site in Cirencester Road will be demolished to make way for a new Lidl store if the plans are approved
151021 New Lidl in Cheltenham Credit: PA/Google

Lidl has been given the go-ahead to build a new store in Cheltenham - despite fears it will put a corner shop out of business.

Planners have given permission for the supermarket to demolish five units at Charlton Kings Business Park in Cirencester Road and build a new site covering almost 20,000 square feet.

The company says it is committed to investing in the town and the shop will be built at the earliest opportunity.

But the proposals have split the community with some 435 residents opposing the scheme while 407 people wrote in support of a new store.

Many feel there is no need for a new food store in the Charlton Kings area while others are concerned about potential noise and light pollution coming from the site.

Colm McAlary - who owns Smith and Mann convenience store - said the opening of a new Lidl was a serious threat to his business.

He said he lost 21% of his trade when Sainsbury’s opened a store nearby.

“There are simply not enough people in the Charlton Kings area to support local businesses and a discount retailer of this size,” he said.

“My business cannot afford to lose 10% more of our trade, which we know it will if this planning permission goes ahead.

“We will have to close our doors and that means the Post Office will close alongside us.”

He called on Cheltenham Borough Council’s planning committee to reject the scheme.

Glen Stidever, speaking on behalf of Lidl, said the new store regenerate the site and provide up to 30 jobs.

“More than 1,500 residents responded to our public consultation exercise with 85% in support of the proposal,” he said.

“They cited benefits such as the new job opportunities, bringing a derelict site back into economic use, improving the retail offer in Charlton Kings and encouraging residents to shop locally rather than travel across town to competing supermarkets.”

Planning officers recommended approving the proposals subject to conditions as they said there were no fundamental objections to the scheme.

After a lengthy debate, three councillors voted in favour of the proposals, three against and three abstained.

Chairman Garth Barnes (Lib Dem, College) used his casting vote to break the deadlock and the scheme was approved.

Credit: Carmelo Garcia, Local Democracy Reporter.