Lidl upset over planning snub threat

How the planned store would look. Picture: contributed
How the planned store would look. Picture: contributed
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LIDL bosses are disappointed after planners tipped one of their supermarkets for refusal.

The fast-growing discount chain wants to open a new store in Inchview Terrace, close to the Seafield Junction.

But the News can reveal planners are recommending the scheme is knocked back.

It is thought the planned shop’s proximity to the difficult junction coupled with the fact the area is already well served by convenience stores coloured planners’ views.

But for bosses of the German giant the decision runs counter to a story of rapid Scottish expansion as consumers snap up cut-price, high-quality fruit, veg and continental desserts.

They said they were “disappointed” and insisted residents were “crying out” for more shopping variety. And despite earlier complaints that the 804 sqm store would have caused bumper to bumper tailbacks, news of the rejection has split local opinion.

Sean Watters, secretary of Portobello Community Council, said: “People will be relieved on the traffic issue.There were a number of residents who were happy to see a retail development but from a planning and traffic point of view it’s so close to Seafield Junction.

“I can see both sides of the argument – something commercial will go up on the site eventually. Certainly, just ­sitting there empty as it is at the moment, it’s not doing much good to anyone.”

Elderly residents in surrounding streets said they were “disappointed”.

Long-standing Wakefield Avenue resident Moira Thomson, 76, said: “I could have walked there rather than ­having to get the bus into ­Portobello for shopping.

“I found most people were quite in favour of it – it would have been nice and local. There are lots of elderly people living in the area and I think they would have shared this ­feeling.”

Lidl chiefs said the decision had come as a blow after they made every effort to demonstrate the development would not have harmed Portobello town centre. They said they wouild be delighted if councillors decide to ignore the advice as the new shop will create around 30 full and part-time jobs. A company spokesman said: “We are extremely disappointed that, despite support from 950 local residents, the local community council and a local ward councillor, the application has not been recommended for approval.”

Lidl is preparing to launch its first television advertising campaign as it seeks to grab middle-class shoppers from retailers such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s. It is one of the fastest-growing food retailers in the UK, with sales up 14 per cent on a year ago.

Steady growth rate in recession

WHILE British rivals battle to maintain market share as the economy recovers from recession, Lidl has enjoyed surging success in increasing shopper numbers.

The German giant – which has operated in the UK since 1994 – has announced plans to create 500 Scottish jobs as part of a £30 million investment which will see it refurbish 88 stores across the country.

Investment comes on the back of 20 per cent growth in customer numbers. It is currently working on its 89th Scottish store in Kirkintilloch.