Lidl has put in an application for a 23,400 sq ft store at the Croft Business Park in Bromborough, a resubmission of a project that was refused planning permission in May last year.
Lidl has submitted plans for a similar-sized store last spring, but this was refused by Wirral’s planning committee, despite an officer recommendation for approval.
Wirral’s planning committee had argued the site is a “primarily industrial area”, and that Lidl had not demonstrated “that there is no reasonable prospect of the site being used for employment purposes” in the future.
The committee had argued the site should be preserved for industrial or employment uses, and also said the proposed store would be “detrimental to the purpose and character of the area and could set an undesirable precedent that could undermine future sustainable economic growth and employment opportunities if replicated elsewhere” around the Croft Business Park.
However, the retailer has returned with a fresh planning application, which was submitted to Wirral Council earlier this month.
This will replace two existing vacant industrial units, and cover a total area of 23,400 sq ft with a sales area of around 15,200 sq ft. The shop front will face New Chester Road with access for vehicles via Thursby Road, and there will be nearly 130 car parking spaces.
Design changes between the two applications have largely been kept to a minimum with layout remaining the same, although there have been some alterations and enhancements to the store’s visual appearance.
Lidl’s planning consultant Plan A argued that the site had been marketed for industrial use largely without success for the past five years, with most of the other expressions of interest in the plot being for retail or leisure use.
The planner’s report cites consultant Hitchcock & Wright, which argued: “Unfortunately redeveloping the site for industrial use would not be financially viable. The property does not lend itself to conversion, as the gross value of a new industrial development on the site is likely to be less than the cost of demolition and construction”.
This has been backed by a viability assessment, prepared by Lidl. Taken together, the retailer argued “there is no reasonable prospect of the application site being re-used for employment uses”.
Lidl UK’s regional head of property, Stuart Jardine said: “If granted this would mark a multi-million-pound investment in the area, and the creation of new jobs when the store opens. We look forward to receiving the decision in due course.”