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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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Carlisle can't cope with any more budget supermarkets - claim

Carlisle is at saturation point with budget supermarkets and can’t cope with any more, the boss of a chain of convenience stores has warned.

Billy Bone photo
Billy Bone

Billy Bone was speaking ahead of a meeting today which is expected to approve plans for a third Aldi store in the city.

Residents have largely welcomed the prospect of the new store, on a disused brown-field site in Dalston Road formerly occupied by the Laings building firm.

But Mr Bone, who runs five branches of Foreways including one in neighbouring Bedford Road, said it was extra competition for existing shops.

Carlisle City Council’s development control committee will today consider plans for Aldi’s multi-million pound development. It already has shops on Kingstown Road and London Road.

In addition, discount chain Lidl has a store on Junction Street, close to the Dalston Road site.

Mr Bone said that with plans for a new Tesco supermarket in the nearby Morton area, the city was “saturated with supermarkets for the population”.

“You could see the need for another one if the population doubled,” he said. “But there is no more money in the city.

“Everybody accepts that we’ve got to have some element of competition but at the end of the day there is only so much to go around.”

The 1,500sq m store, complete with a 101-space car park, could create up to 30 jobs on the site on Dalston Road which has stood empty for a number of years.

Investigations are underway into possible contamination on the site.

Carlisle City Council’s planners recommend that the application be approved.

Neighbours have largely welcomed the development. Nigel Leigh, a 50-year-old nurse from Distington in west Cumbria, said his partner lived in Dalston Road and was in favour of the store .

“She will not have to go far to do her shopping – it’s very convenient,” he added. “It’s a bit of waste ground.”

Robert Winthrop, a 53-year-old former heating engineer from Stanhope Road, was also in favour of the development.

He said: “I am not bothered by it at all. It will be handy for me.”

The city council has also received around 40 letters of support for the development from people welcoming a new discount supermarket.

Aldi claims there has been considerable support from local residents as it would regenerate part of the vacant site as well as creating new jobs.

A spokesman said: “Aldi has been looking to provide a new store in this part of Carlisle for a number of years and we are pleased our application to regenerate part of this vacant site has received so much support from the local community.

“Our proposal represents an opportunity to deliver a new discount food store to the area, improving choice for local people, particularly those who currently have to travel out of the area to meet their shopping needs.

“We hope that members of the development control committee will be able to support Aldi’s application, which offers significant community benefits, including job creation and multi-million pound investment in a site which has been disused for years and is regarded as a local eyesore.”

Recommending approval, city planning officers said in a report to councillors: “The site is currently disused and all buildings have now been demolished.

“The allocation recognised the under-utilised nature of the site since the Laings operation ceased and although some uses continued, this was not making optimal use of a brownfield site within the city.”

A planning report has acknowledged that there has been some opposition to the plans with concerns about road safety.

Suggestions were made that the development would lead to groups gathering outside, that it could increase noise and light pollution for residents, and that problems might arise with resident-only parking nearby.

1.35pm UPDATE: Aldi's application was deferred pending a highways survey.

Have your say

Re Graeme's comment re "The rounadout at Dixons chimney tends to gridlocked at various parts of the day"...

This can only be good news for it means that if those councillors go back and try and cross the road - it will be far easier for them than having to stand on the kerbside waiting for 15 (?) minutes for the traffic to stand still long enough for them to wander across the road.

Posted by Ted on 8 July 2014 at 19:01

Sounds like a bit of Self Interest by Mr Bone

Carlisle people have a choice where to shop,they also like the rest of the country have limited budgets- another ALDI means more jobs,less travelling from the locality and better prices. I would suggest Carlisle has one more major supermarket than it needs , but the jobs they bring are welcome.

Posted by Laurie on 7 July 2014 at 08:33

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