Future of new Kent Lidl store ‘at risk’ again as concerns lodged by Aldi and Tesco

Plans have been met with challenges from Tesco and Aldi
Plans have been met with challenges from Tesco and Aldi -Credit:Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Plans to build a new Lidl supermarket in Kent are once again ‘at risk’ as the project is facing yet more hurdles. Back in October 2022, plans were first submitted to Swale Borough Council for the construction of a new Lidl supermarket at Cowstead Corner on the Isle of Sheppey.

Permission for the new store was ultimately granted in July 2023 as the plans reportedly saw overwhelming support from locals, with 91 per cent of residents voting in favour of the opening. However, the new supermarket soon faced challenges as objections were raised by representatives for Aldi and Tesco against the building of the new store.

The legal challenge ultimately led to the High Court decision in September 2023 for the plans to be overturned. Lidl was therefore left with no other choice but to return to the planning stage.

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After the proposals were revised, Swale Borough Council once again green-lit the plans in January of this year. Now, fresh challenges have once again been lodged from Aldi and Tesco representatives against the plans, which could result in another formal legal challenge.

Aldi has raised concerns about the impact that the new store would have on the existing area, writing to the council to ask that it takes this into consideration in line with planning policy. Tesco meanwhile has written to the council seeking clarification on its decision making process, with no plans for further action in this case.

BRISTOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 07:  An exterior view of signage at a branch of the budget supermarket Aldi on November 7, 2013 in Bristol, England. As the German chain opens its 500th store in the affluent Bury St Edmunds, some retail experts are claiming that the low-cost supermarket is trying to attract more affluent shoppers, in particular by offering large discounts on luxury items.  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Representative for Aldi have expressed concern over the impact that the new store would have on the existing area. -Credit:Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Both supermarkets have emphasised that they rarely make objections of this kind, and only do so where material planning considerations are concerned. Lidl meanwhile has reaffirmed its commitment to delivering the new Isle of Sheppey store, which would create 40 new jobs for the area.

Adam Forsdick, Regional Head of Property for Northfleet at Lidl GB, said: “With over 91% of residents in favour of a new Lidl store it’s clear that there is exceptionally strong support from households in the area. We know, therefore, that this latest threat will come as a huge blow to many.

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The new Isle of Sheppey store would create 40 jobs in the area -Credit:Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

“We believe that these competitor tactics to delay the plans are entirely self-serving and not in the best interest of the local community. As a discount supermarket, we exist to provide all households with access to good food at the best value and we would like to reassure residents on the Isle of Sheppey that we are fully committed to seeing through our plans. We are therefore pleased that the Council has sought to defend its decision.”

Plans include the creation of a new 119-space car park, as well as new and widened vehicle and pedestrian access from Queenborough Road. The supermarket would also include a bakery, customer toilets, baby changing facilities and electric vehicle charging.

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