Plans for Cheltenham Aldi refused

 

A controversial plan to build an Aldi store, nursery and office buildings on the edge of Cheltenham has been rejected for the second time.

The major development was planned to be based off Grovefield Way, near the Arle Court Roundabout, but members of Cheltenham Borough Council’s planning committee refused its application on the grounds that German discount store Aldi would spark more traffic and pollution than the roads could handle.

Members of the committee welcomed the proposal to bring in more office buildings into Cheltenham after hearing the town is short of sites for more jobs.

But at the same time some councillors were wary of the need of a new Aldi, when an Asda superstore is on land next door as well as the impact extra traffic could have on the town.

This is the major new development to be built near an Asda and the M5 in Gloucestershire

The proposal was rejected by a majority of four.

A revised application was submitted to the council earlier this month to build a supermarket, a child nursery and office buildings after an initial application was rejected last December.

In those updated plans, a drive-through Costa Coffee had been dropped.

At last night’s planning meeting, Liberal Democrat councillor Mike Collins said he felt he was experiencing “deja vu”.

Mr Collins (Benhall and the Reddings) said: “We are being asked to approve office space we desperately need, but only if we have a supermarket we definitely don’t need.”

Fellow Lib Dem councillor Simon Wheeler echoed Mr Collins’ concerns.

Mr Wheeler (Hester’s Way) said: “Grovefield Way is gridlocked most of the day. Office workers won’t cause must of an impact, but Aldi shoppers will be coming and going all day making it a 24/7 nightmare.”

However, one councillor, Paul Baker, said the “critical issue is the lack of employment land in Cheltenham”.

Mr Baker (LD, Charlton Park) claimed the town has lost more than “3,000sqm” of potential office space to residential.

Speaking before the committee, an official from Cheltenham-based property consultancy firm Ridge, said there isn’t “any room to expand” his business.
Paul Fong, a partner at Ridge and Partners LLP, said: “There’s nowhere big enough to take it in Cheltenham.

“I’ve been here for 25 years, but I fear I may have to leave Cheltenham because there isn’t enough room here. I could wait until the major West and North-West Cheltenham developments are completed, but those are a long time away.”

Meanwhile, the application was met with heavy community opposition from The Reddings Residents Association (TRRA), who were present at the meeting.

Speaking before the committee, a representative of the TRRA, claimed that building an Aldi on the location near the busy roundabout “could bring 282 extra vehicles by the hour”.

They said: “More traffic would impact any residents who even open their house window because of the pollution.”

The same member of the TRRA said after the meeting that he was “pleased” the application was refused.

At the meeting, four people voted for developer Hinton Properties’ application to go ahead while eight voted against.

A council document said Bloor Homes and Ridge and Partners LLP were allocated offices on the Corinthian Park site.

The land is next to the Cotswold BMW dealership and close to the trading park featuring B&Q, Pets at Home and Home Bargains, as well as a KFC Drive Through, Harvester restaurant, and the Arle Court Park and Ride.

It is not known whether an application will be re-submitted to the council.

By Leigh Boobyer – Local Democracy Reporter

 

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