Aldi Store Application in Ledbury

Aldi are seeking planning permission from Herefordshire Council for a new store in Ledbury to be located outside the town on land next to Galebreakers on the New Mills Industrial estate.   The same application seeks permission for an extension of Galebreakers manufacturing facilities on the site.

If you wish to comment on this application, you have until 14th April to lodge your comments with Herefordshire Council.

Full details about the application can be found at the Herefordshire Council website under planning reference P160606.  You will find plans for the site, and in the Documentation list a document entitled “Planning and Retail Statement” which contains the key information about the application.

Any comments that you make should address planning issues – it is not enough for example to say that you don’t approve of supermarkets.

The following information is provided to help you consider the benefits and downsides of this application in respect of the Aldi store proposals part of the application.

Proposal:  A new store of 1,870 square metres gross with 1,277 square metres (13,745 square feet) of retail space –this is about 40% more than Tesco, Ledbury.  This is large for an Aldi store – it will stock 1500 lines of goods.

Aldi say “Local and regional sourcing of products, particularly for fresh produce and bakery goods, is an important element within the range.   ALDI does not offer a ‘one-stop-shop’ meaning that, when shopping at ALDI, customers will also have to visit other shops and services to complete their shopping trip.  On this basis, ALDI complements, rather than competes with, existing local traders and generates considerable propensity for linked trips and associated spin-off trade.”

“This proposal seeks to provide a discount facility to enhance the retail offer in Ledbury, particularly assisting those residents on low incomes. The proposals will improve the retail offer, competition and choice, and retain retail expenditure currently leaking from the town to other centres.”

The store will sell about 80% food products and 20% other products.

Site:  Land currently allocated for employment i.e. industrial or general business use – the site is one of very few sites in Ledbury allocated for employment that has good access to major roads.   Ledbury is going to need employment land to support jobs for its increasing population.

Aldi have reviewed other options in the Town Centre e.g. in the Lawnside area, but have rejected these on the basis that there is nothing suitable for the size of store they consider they need to build in Ledbury.

Access: The site is 950m from the Town Centre – and therefore “out of town”. Parking for 108 cars at the store, and improvements to footpaths linking to Barnett Avenue are included.  The site is currently served by the 600 Ledbury Town Bus Service (2 hourly – 4 a day).   – Aldi say they are “committed to ensuring that its stores are accessible by a variety of modes of transport and seek to locate stores where they are accessible to pedestrians and by public transport.”

Competition with existing retailers in Ledbury:  Aldi estimate that their new store’s food turnover will be £8m per annum, and will draw trade from the Coop and Tesco of 19.5% and 16.1% respectively.  The figures for the impact on other food shops in Ledbury are sketchy.  All figures are based on a survey in 2012.

Jobs and the local economy:  Aldi expect to create up to 40 full and part time jobs in store.  These “new” jobs should be considered against the probable loss of jobs in existing shops as a result of falling trade, as the total food spend in Ledbury remains fairly static, and, of course more people move to internet shopping for groceries.

Experience of out of town food stores in market towns elsewhere is a history of town centre shops downsizing or closing as a direct result.

As with other national chains, the amount of expenditure retained in the local economy from the store will be small based on general experience.

Ledbury Town Centre is valued by residents and visitors alike – and was recently listed by the Sunday Times as the best town in the Midlands to live in.  Changes in the retail content of the town centre could have a significant impact on the social and economic wellbeing of Ledbury.

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