'National coffee chain' to open drive-through at disused town centre supermarket

A disused town centre supermarket is set to be turned into a drive-through coffee shop. The developer behind the plans for the former Lidl store in Longton says a 'main national operator' has already been signed up to take on the new business.

The building on The Strand was last used as a charity shop, but has been empty since Mind relocated to a unit in Longton Exchange in February. Metalcraft Projects Limited is requesting permission to partially demolish and subdivide the building, with one half set to be turned into the drive-through and the other being retained as a retail unit.

The applicant says that an occupier for the second unit has not yet been identified, but is 'likely' to be a national retailer or restaurant operator. The plans would also see part of the existing car park turned into an electric vehicle charging station with 28 bays. Two electrical substations would also be built as part of the development.

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According to the planning application, the proposed changes to the building would deliver 'modern, visually attractive' commercial units, in contrast to the 'dated and bland' supermarket.

The application states: "The proposals represent significant capital investment in the local area and will generate a number of job opportunities for local people across a range of roles and will therefore positively align with established policy objectives aimed at supporting the vitality and viability of town centres and economic growth, as well as wider regeneration objectives in the area. A new EV charging hub will also be delivered, which will deliver additional EV charging infrastructure in the area to support the transition to ultra low emission vehicles in line with established local and national policy objectives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing the negative impacts of climate change."

The existing access to the site off Clayton Street would be retained as an entrance, with ingress and egress via Edensor Road being retained and modified.

Planners at Stoke-on-Trent City Council are expected to make a decision on the proposals by August 7.