Su­per­mar­ket’s plan for court gets green light

Solihull News - - BUSINESS NEWS - DAVID IR­WIN Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­porter

A NEW Aldi su­per­mar­ket will be built in Soli­hull town cen­tre af­ter plans se­cured unan­i­mous ap­proval from the coun­cil’s plan­ning com­mit­tee.

The scheme, which will see the bud­get food store erected on the site of the for­mer mag­is­trates court, was given the green light last week.

Aldi had said the Homer Road de­vel­op­ment would cre­ate 40 jobs and of­fer a sig­nif­i­cant boost to the lo­cal econ­omy.

While more than 70 res­i­dents had writ­ten in sup­port of the ap­pli­ca­tion, a cou­ple of mem­bers sug­gested that they would have per­haps pre­ferred to have seen hous­ing built on the land. Coun­cil­lor An­gela Sandison ( Con, Shirley South) was slightly con­cerned that there were al­ready a good many stores in the vicin­ity; a Waitrose pre­vi­ously opened a short dis­tance down the road.

“We al­ready have sev­eral super­mar­kets in Soli­hull and I’m not sure they ac­tu­ally need an­other one. What we do need is more hous­ing,” she said.

“But we have to deal with the ap­pli­ca­tion in front of us and I do agree it’s a much more ap­peal­ing de­sign than most of the Aldi stores I’ve seen and I do like the foot­path that con­nects it with Touch­wood.”

Plan­ning of­fi­cers had sug­gested that use of the 81- space car park­ing fa­cil­i­ties should be lim­ited to two hours. Coun Richard Holt ( Con, Blythe) was as­sured that con­di­tions would also cover the light­ing of the new build­ing, hav­ing sug­gested that steps should be taken to en­sure that the area to the rear of the store had a “wel­com­ing feel”.

Aldi had pur­chased the for­mer mag­is­trates af­ter a de­ci­sion was taken by the Min­istry of Jus­tice ( MoJ) to close and sell off those courts which it deemed to be un­der- used.

While min­is­ters had said they could not jus­tify the £ 250,000 an­nual run­ning costs at the same time as the caseload was dwin­dling, there had been con­cerns that shift­ing cases to Birm­ing­ham would pose dif­fi­cul­ties.

Aldi has been us­ing the cur­rent premises as a train­ing cen­tre and sub­mit­ted its ap­pli­ca­tion for a pur­pose- built su­per­mar­ket over the sum­mer.

An artist’s im­pres­sion of the new Aldi

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