Protest against Lidl supermarket proposed for Bath green space

Larkhall traders and local residents turned out in November for their first protest. Credit: Dionne McCulloch

A protest against proposals to build a second Lidl supermarket in Bath has been held.

Local residents and traders from the Larkhall neighbourhood turned out to oppose the scheme, which would see a superstore built on Bath Rugby's Lambridge Training Ground.

In October, news broke that Bath Rugby had exchanged contracts on part of their land at on London Road, with Lidl GB.

It also permanently transferred the training pitches and clubhouse to Bath RFC, securing the amateur club's long-term future there.

People wheeled five supermarket trolleys from Larkhall to the site on 29 April in a bid to draw attention to the 'Bath Doesn’t Need Another Lidl' campaign.

They raised concerns about the effect a new supermarket would have on independent traders in Larkhall and the increased traffic it would bring to London Road.

Luke Rich, who runs Larkhall Farm Shop on St Saviours Road, could not attend today's protest, but he said beforehand that he was against the development "in principle".

He added that, while he understood the need for budget supermarkets like Lidl, he felt there was "no need" for one in that area of Bath.

Mr Rich said: "I feel like the damage it could do to local traders is concerning. It won't be the first time a big business has come in and affected smaller businesses.

"There will be fewer jobs, less competition and that money will not stay in the local economy either.

"As traders, we are buying each other's produce and we are paying local tradesmen. None of the profits from Lidl are going into the pockets of people in Larkhall."

Local resident Maddy Lysley, said: "I am against the plans for another Lidl in Bath because I don't think we need any more supermarkets and we do need to keep our green spaces."

Rachel Hushon, chair of the Federation of Bath’s Residents Association (FOBRA) said: “We are concerned that building a second Lidl here will impact this historic gateway to Bath. 

"This would impact the heritage of this city and could lead to the city possibly losing its UNESCO historic status, which would be a disaster for everyone across this beautiful city.”

So far, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening Opinion has been submitted to Bath and North East Somerset Council, in advance of a full planning application.

In response to residents' and traders' concerns, Lidl Great Britain said: "Our commitment to sustainability is reflected in the new store plans, which place great emphasis on this area.

"For example, electric vehicle rapid charging facilities will be provided for customer use, and the store will feature an extensive green roof.

"The site will also benefit from significant landscaping and new tree-planting.

 "Additionally, our property team has been engaging directly with the local business community and were pleased to meet a number of them later last year, and will be engaging further with them and the wider community as part of our public consultation process.

 "We believe that this store will be hugely beneficial to those living in the area, providing access to enhanced choice through high quality, best value produce, at a time when it’s more necessary than ever.

"As such, our team has been finessing the plans to ensure any concerns previously raised are addressed. The plans will be shared with the community in the coming weeks before a public consultation on Wednesday 17 May, which will allow for any further feedback."

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