Proposals for a retail scheme featuring Lidl and B&M have been narrowly approved by Cheshire East’s southern planning committee, going against the recommendation of the council’s planning officers.
The plans submitted by Clowes Developments (North West) were a hybrid application for an 8.9-acre site at Mill Street and Lockitt Street, seeking detailed consent for 47,000 sq ft of retail and a drive-through coffee shop, and outline consent for up to 70 homes.
Refused in 2018, the altered scheme was again recommended for refusal, but succeeded at committee by six votes to five.
The site is currently occupied by single-storey industrial buildings, sitting next to and behind a Wickes store. A mixed-use proposal was approved in outline for the site in 2013.
Reasons given for the 2018 refusal included design and the permeability of the site for pedestrians and cyclists – the site sits between Crewe railway station and the town centre.
In response to those views, Clowes’ revamped scheme, like the first designed by Corstorphine + Wright, saw changes made including the re-siting of the coffee shop, additional landscaping, and a tree-lined route through the residential area. A timber canopy was added to the retail building’s frontage to reflect Crewe’s railway heritage.
The residential area itself has been changed from 30% affordable to 100%, now comprising blocks of apartments and townhouses rather than mixed housing. Trafford Housing Trust is lined up as partner for this element.
A Clowes spokesman said: “We are delighted that our proposed development was approved. The site has many constraints so has not been the easiest to plan, but now approval has been given and we have Lidl and B&M lined up, we are looking forward to investing in Crewe.
“We would like to thank all our supporters who have helped us get to this outcome and expect to start on site in the next three months with a view to completion in early 2020.”
Various councillors are understood to have spoken in favour of development, citing social issues and the chance to welcome inward investment. Conditions including more landscaping to mitigate the visual impact of the scheme’s 270 parking spaces were included in the consent.
Consultancy Plan A has advised on the application. The project will be Lidl’s first Crewe store.