Lidl issues statement over axeing of new Bath supermarket plan

The new Lidl supermarket could be built on London Road, near Bath Rugby's Lambridge training ground
-Credit: (Image: Lidl)

Lidl has confirmed that they remain fully committed to plans to build a new supermarket in Bath despite withdrawing a scheme for the city. The budget supermarket chain had long planned to build a new store off London Road, on the eastern edge of the city, but on Tuesday morning, it was announced that Lidl had withdrawn the planning application.

The scheme would have brought up to 40 new jobs to the area and made affordable food more accessible. Currently, the only budget supermarket in Bath is the existing Lidl off the Lower Bristol Road on the far side of town.

But the company confirmed to SomersetLive that they remain committed to opening a new Lidl in the city. They added they had withdrawn the application to allow vital highways surveys to take place which would inform a revised plan to be brought back later in the year.

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A Lidl spokesperson said: "We remain fully committed to opening a new Lidl store in Bath to give even more households access to high quality, affordable produce.

"To ensure that our application is as robust as possible and contains the results of vital highways surveys, we have withdrawn our application with a view to resubmitting it later in the year once we’ve had an opportunity to carry out these surveys. We look forward to working with the local council on the updated application and to providing further updates to residents in due course."

But neighbours protested at the plans to build the supermarket on a field dubbed an “inadvertent nature reserve” last summer and almost 1,200 people lodged objections to the plans. Now Lidl is withdrawing its planning application, Bath and North East Somerset Council officers have told councillors. It is understood plans may be resubmitted in the future once more highway surveys have been undertaken.

Lidl say their plans, which included a green roof on the store, bird baths, bat boxes, bee towers, and retaining the woodland by the river, would actually increase the biodiversity on the site, which is currently a field surrounded by trees, by 40%. Lidl had also stated it had “searched exhaustively” for suitable sites, and that the London Road site was the most suitable, accessible, and convenient.

But the plans have proven controversial. Joanna Wright, the local Green councillor on Bath and North East Somerset Council, said: “Myself and councillor Saskia Heijltjes, as ward councillor for Lambridge have been against the development of a supermarket at this site because we know already how problematic and congested the strategic road network is on the east of Bath.

"This site would have caused even greater disruption to local highways, whether you are a driver, cyclist or walker. Coupled with the real threat of impacting our UNESCO status by placing a superstore at a historic gateway and threatening local businesses, this application was never going to get through planning.

"That’s why Lidl have withdrawn this application, they don’t want to be seen to lose. No doubt they will try again. The fight will continue to stop any supermarket being built on this site.”

In total, 1,194 people lodged objections to the plans on Bath and North East Somerset Council’s planning portal. 402 people lodged comments in support, while 23 people also left uncategorised comments.