Plans for a new Aldi retail food store in New Mills have been given the green light, despite fears by objectors that it will lead to increased traffic congestion and impact on existing town centre shops.
High Peak Borough Council’s Development Control Committee voted 10-1 in favour of the development of a single storey flat-roofed supermarket on vacant land off Albion Road, close to Newtown train station.
The budget supermarket chain’s new store, covering a gross floor area of 1,784 square metres, will be accompanied by 92 customer and six staff parking spaces. The roof will also be fitted with an array of 200 photovoltaic solar panels.
The application provoked a mixed response from residents, with 51 letters of support received by the council and over 70 in objection.
New Mills councillor Lance Dowson told the committee there were conflicting arguments both for and against the scheme. These included balancing the need to protect the town centre’s traditional independent shops with that of offering a discount food store to people living in areas of the town deemed some of the most deprived in High Peak.
“Perhaps this is an Aldi too far?” he questioned, referring to an online search which revealed six Aldi stores within five miles of the town.
Other concerns highlighted included fears over increased traffic, particularly at the junction with Albion Road, and the proposed demolition of the neighbouring methodist chapel as part of alterations to the site entrance, an action which objectors claimed would be “an act of vandalism”.
A planning officer’s report to the meeting, which recommended approval, said the proposed development would “deliver economic, social and environmental benefits”, adding that any negative impacts relating to highway safety and residential amenity could be addressed through planning conditions.
Cllr Emily Thrane said, on the face of it, she could see no reason to refuse the application, and welcomed the inclusion of an overspill car park for the railway station which would provide 22 spaces.
Cllr Stewart Young lauded the potential boost to local jobs, and reiterated a condition of approval would be a Section 106 agreement to deliver funding towards highway and traffic management measures.
Voting against approval, Cllr John Kappes said that while he welcomed the development of a brownfield site, he felt there were more suitable uses for the land.
“This is an ideal location for start-up housing, what with a train station and shops nearby,” he commented.
“For me, Aldi would be wrong for New Mills, it would be wrong for Disley, and would be a drain on local resources.”
The approved plans also included outline permission for a light industrial unit at the rear of the site, and retention of the existing footbridge.