Aldi submit revised plans for town centre site... and agree to keep Concourse store open

Aldi submit revised plans for town centre site... and agree to keep Concourse store open

by Henry James (January 2022)

ALDI has submitted a revised application in their bid to build a new store at land at Westgate and High Street in Skelmersdale and they have now given assurances that they will keep their Concourse unit open, which has a lease until 2025.

At the end of 2019 the supermarket chain submitted plans to relocate to a new store within the town at the old Co-op offices at Westgate, but the application has encountered multiple objections.

The new development would create 40 to 50 full and part-time jobs.

An objection was raised by the applicant’s existing landlord, who were “extremely concerned” about the adverse impact caused by the loss of Aldi.

Lidl, who are a part of the new Skelmersdale town centre scheme being delivered by St Modwen, have also objected. They did threaten to pull out if Aldi did secure consent for a larger store to compete with Lidl.

Aldi want to develop a site at Westgate which was occupied by a 1960’s office building until it was demolished in 2021 after an arson attack. The building had been vacant since 2016 when the Co-operative Group moved out.

As part of the revised application there is a covering letter from Avison Young, who are representing the German retailer.

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It states: “A further reason why the application materials have merited revision is that whilst Aldi’s objective remains to bring their latest discount foodstore format to Skelmersdale, so that they can better meet the needs of Skelmersdale residents from a building capable of providing their full food offer, they have reconsidered their position on their existing Skelmersdale town centre store.

“They are now proposing to retain their Concourse Centre store (where the current lease runs until the end of 2025) so that there would be no consequential reduction in consumer choice and competition within the town centre should a new Aldi store open at Westgate.”

Aldi has said though they cannot adequately serve Skelmersdale from their existing store within the Concourse Centre in Skelmersdale town centre.

The planning and retail statement submitted with the new application explains: “This is both due to the store’s limited size (which has a sales area one third less than Aldi’s current foodstore format) and inherent operational constraints associated with the Concourse Centre itself.

“These include there being no dedicated surface level car parking within easy reach of customers using trolleys – critical for those undertaking a ‘bulk’ food shopping trip – and reduced operational hours, dictated by the trading hours of the shopping centre.”

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