A Planning Inspector has today dismissed an appeal by Lidl to open a new food store at Angel Drove in Ely.
The decision upholds the stance taken by the District Council to refuse the application on the grounds of its location, which would do little, if anything to strengthen the town centre.
In coming to his decision, the Inspector heard seven days of legal argument from the Council, Lidlâ€™s legal team and other interested parties along with reading over hundreds of pages of evidence.
In summing up his decision, David Wildsmith said: “Further convenience retail development on the appeal site would simply serve to strengthen and increase the attraction of this out-of-centre location, and would do little if anything to strengthen the town centre.â€
Lucie Turnell, Team Leader â€“ Development Services at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: â€œThe decision to dismiss the appeal will significantly affect the location of future provision of retailing in Ely, stressing that consumer choice should be met in locations that strengthen and support the centre. The decision will also hopefully give confidence to Aldi, who have recently been given planning permission in Ely, to press ahead with their plans.
â€œThese are difficult economic times and it is vital we do all we can to support existing traders who have made the city their home. We are constantly in discussion with developers who want to enhance our city and it is our job to make sure these plans and projects benefit us all no matter our income. This case was never about the specific retailer ie Lidl â€“ despite claims to the otherwise – it was about where the store would have been located.â€