The supermarket retailer has reworked plans for a store on the site of a derelict Indian restaurant, once the 17th century Rams Head Inn, off Liverpool Road, and submitted a fresh application to West Lancashire Council.
The application is an amended version of a previous Aldi proposal approved by the council in March, which sought to demolish the Bay Leaf restaurant and build a 26,000 sq ft Aldi store on the site together with a two-storey, 7,000 sq ft office block and parking for 138 cars.
However, that application is subject to an ongoing judicial review against the council’s decision to approve it, brought by objectors to the scheme that raised concerns over its heritage impact, potential to increase traffic, and large scale.
In the meantime, Aldi – advised by consultancy Avison Young – has revisited the scheme and made several design and technical amendments to address its more problematic aspects. The parties in the end opted to submit an entirely new planning application.
Under the most recent application, Aldi would demolish the Bay Leaf restaurant as previously and build a new store with parking for 129 vehicles. The proposal for a two-storey office block has been retained.
Other amendments include the removal and relocation of the existing site access point away from the junction between Liverpool Road and Windgate, and a slight repositioning of the store itself; landscaping works across the site, including the retention of a pond to the east, and the addition of an external lobby to the supermarket to satisfy Aldi’s requirements to enhance customer experience. This addition serves to increase the overall store size by 226 sq ft.
The application also adds a substation required for the store’s operation and car parking alternations to accommodate this and to protect existing trees.
The Rams Head Inn building has stood on the site since the mid-17th century – it features a date stone of 1640. It is on West Lancashire Council’s list of buildings of local architectural or historic interest, although it is not a designated heritage asset.
The site also sits within designated Green Belt.
A further public consultation was conducted before the new application was submitted, and Aldi said it received a “hugely positive response”.