The building was given listed status last year. Credit: via Royal Pilgrim

Lidl admits defeat in Wavertree 

The discount supermarket giant has abandoned plans to build a store on the site of the grade-two listed Abbey Cinema for the second time following backlash over the scheme. 

A spokesperson for Lidl said the company had “worked incredibly hard” to secure planning approval while respecting the existing building’s listed status. 

They added: “However, due to the significant delays that we have faced since first acquiring the site, we have made the difficult decision to withdraw our application.  

“We understand that this will be disappointing for those who backed our plans, and we want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took the time to give their support.” 

Lidl first lodged plans for the redevelopment of the Church Road North in April 2021. This involved demolishing the former cinema and building a 17,700 sq ft store. 

At the time, the company said it was “not economically viable” to convert the building, which had previously been a Co-op. 

The former cinema was then granted grade two-listed status by Historic England, scuppering the proposals. 

Lidl subsequently withdrew the plans and returned last August with a revised application seeking consent to convert the building instead of knocking it down. 

However, this application has also been withdrawn following “significant delays”. 

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Very disappointed to read this news, the building will now become an eyesore for the area instead of a convenient store for locals.

By S.Ambrose

Shame the loss of investment, but Lidl flipped from ‘not economically viable’ (demolition) to a revised application (conversion) quicker than you can toss a pancake

By LEighteen

What a dreadful shame. So what’s next for the site? It’s now standing empty, derelict and dangerously littered all around the perimeter.

By Pauline


By Jy Davidson

Well now it will go to rack and ruin and could have been an asset to the community, let English Heritage pay for for the upkeep then.

By Anonymous

Leave it as it is and It will degrade to the point of it being dangerous. Feel sorry for all the locals especially the older people who do not have cars!

By Rob, local resident

I live just around the corner – it’s a complete eye sore and is going to stay that way for decades until it crumbles down – this activist groups have a lot to answer for

By Stuart wood

This is a terrible, this was a much needed store for local residents. Shame on the one’s who put a stop to this. I bet they don’t even live around here.

By B Wileman

Not surprised at this outcome and have mixed feelings, as these type of buildings can be converted into accommodation above and commercial at ground level eg Transformation House on St John’s Hill at Clapham Junction, albeit if you have the will and the money. I suppose now the building will stand empty like the cinema on Lime Street looking an eyesore for years.

By Anonymous

I live in wavertree and have 2 kids and find it hard getting to the other super markets that are around, there literally nothing close to anyone if they need little bits and bobs for there house we only have the little Tesco and the corner shops which are expensive! This would of been amazing as a good shop for everyone

By Sophie Harvey

We really needed this store.

By P murphy

Absolutely gutted we are going to get left with this eyesore, most of the people campaigning didn’t even live around here, well big thanks to you were left with it!

By John G. Local resident.

Didn’t there used to be a Somerfield and then a Co Op on this site?

By Anonymous

Awful news
A much needed supermarket list to the community

By Marianna Whitehorn

If only those ‘listing’ this eyesore had a plan, and the money to use it! Instead, it will slowly rot – or better burn down. Wavertree loses a much anticipated and needed, Local supermarket that didn’t involve car use.

By Ian

Good fed up of big fat cats that come along and think they can knock good old buildings down

By Collette Sweeney

Terrible news. Really annoyed at those who campaigned against it. We have lost something that would have been of great benefit and will now instead watch an old building disintegrate – slowly.

By Optional

What a shame. I was born and bred in Wavertree my favourite cinema “The Abbey”. But now different types of supermarkets it has been over the years which is much needed in and around Church Road area. Now it is left for vandals to destroy. I have not lived in Wavertree for 58 years but have watched the change and it saddens me . So please do something for the people who live there with a decent supermarket As one reader says “ not everyone has cars”.

By Anonymous

Wow…people have short memories and no concept of how heritage led regeneration can work. If you wanted a tin shed surrounded by a car park then you’re on the same camp as those that wanted the Albert Dock demolished and filled in… the comments are pretty much identical. Yes, it will take more imagination vision and talent that a profit driven low cost operator threw at it, but that was a very low bar. We need to start demanding better rather than rolling over for these greed machines. The building should now be sold for nothing (call their bluff if they said it was not viable) and let real designers get to work creating something for the community.

By Anonymous

@ Collette Sweeney, it’s not just your so-called fat cats who knock old buildings down, Liverpool City Council in their time have knocked more down than the Luftwaffe. … Sailors Home, Overhead Railway, street after street of Georgian and Victorian housing, salvagable remains of the Customs House,.
Old cinemas are like churches,we can’t keep all of them.

By Anonymous

This was never intended as a “local community” supermarket. Lidl saw the potential in the high levels of passing-through commuter traffic that clog up the High St every morning and evening (on their way into town and back to more affluent areas)…the SUVs would have filled the tiny car park at these times, adding congestion to the already extremely dangerous junctions. I challenge anyone with children to try crossing there during peak hours without risking your life. I see the local councillors have latched on to the story to score points against each other – instead of lobbying to sort out the High St from the traffic filled mess it is now. If that is given priority perhaps local viable businesses might emerge that could serve the local community, instead we live with a dual carriageway through a village, with cars parked across pavements. Now that’s what we should be angry about.

By Wavertree Resident

Unacceptable delays by LCC planning on the revised application to retain the building are squarely to blame for this.

By LCC Planning

Disappointed to see that Lidl have decided to pull out of this much needed redevelopment, although can well understand with Council delays of 12 months or more in Planning, that complex schemes like this will be delayed proportionately more and therefore more problematic for international organisations. Another failing of our Council preventing investment in our City. When are they going to learn? Can they not allocate some resource to resolve this issue with Lidl, and get them sorted?

By Wavertree Resident

There are rarely problem buildings, just problem owners. Lidl couldn’t or wouldn’t sufficiently bend or flex their usual mode of supermarket operation to suit this listed building, so have concluded it’s not right for them. Fair play. The real issue is how hard-nosed Lidl will be about keeping hold of the site so no one else (e.g. a potential competitor) sets up shop, especially as it could presumably be fairly straightforward to re-open as a shop once again tomorrow, having last being used as a Co-op?

By Lidl Knidl

Do we really need another Lidl or Aldi? Lidl probably didn’t move forward with Wavertree when it no longer fitted their usual plan and budget of flatten and rebuild. It has been a supermarket before – why couldn’t it be one again – surely Lidl must have a few prototypes and floor plates. Picton Road certainly isn’t what it used to be – could whatever this old cinema becomes not be the anchor to it being vibrant again? A food hall and market hall with independents in and resi above – who wants another Lidl and Aldi soon we will have no choice! I think this is a blessing! There are lots of different demographics around this area – some amazing architecture including North Road etc – and this could work! Like the market hall in Altrincham and the Macki Mayer or whatever its called – people need to take back a bit of their community and Picton needs help!

By Bob Dawson

The people who hold back Liverpool ie the nimbys, anti-business, anti-profit, anti-development lot , just don’t see the bigger picture, if the city was allowed to develop then the big investors would come along and convert the building into eg flats or a multi-level storage facility, but while the city remains in a poor economic state then it won’t happen.
Look at all those obsolete classic, churches on Princes Avenue falling down before our eyes and that’s what will happen to the Abbey.

By Anonymous

Gutted to har this. It would have been far better to have a useful store than a derelict building

By Anonymous

Thats such a shame and i cant believe that people would rather look at a derelict old building than having a new store

By Anonymous

Disappointed the building will just become a eyesore now!!

By Anonymous

Terrible news. Whoever campaigned to prevent this from happening have a lot to answer for. 3 years since Co-op left and it still looks dreadful.

By Anonymous

If I had the money I would turn this outstanding building, the place which inspired John Lennon,s most beautiful song ‘I’m my Life’ into a music and arts venue, a place to exhibit Beatle and important local music history , There is plenty of parking space for the Mystery Tour Bus, film and cinema history etc photography exhibition and various arts tuition workshops. Fashion design and exhibitions art and ceramics etc a small coffee/tea shop, gift shop, It could combine some living accommodation . The place is huge and could combine many things . An auditorium , staging special Small music venues and stage productions )NOTHING WOKE to use that horrible word. ) there are so many uses for it. I’m sure many people have more ideas than me. But as a last resort ,to save the building , very tasteful and beautiful Art Deco apartments would be ideal. But if all fails would rather see this beautiful old building with its life and memories shared by so many of us,just gradually die and decay naturally and peacefully go to ground , than be deliberately wrecked and distroyed . Thankfully so many people have helped to Save it from wanton destruction up to now . Much could have been done before it got to this state . Thank God for the people who have saved it up to now.

By Jackie milton

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