Plans to create a 20,000 sq ft supermarket at Altrincham Retail Park by subdividing the existing Homebase unit have been recommended for approval by the council eight months after the proposals were refused.
The scheme was turned down last summer as Lidl had already agreed terms on a “sequentially preferable site” at Nikal’s mixed-use Altair development in Altrincham town centre.
Lidl said that it could take up to four years to deliver the Altair store and thus lodged the application for a supermarket at Altrincham Retail Park in Broadheath, which could be delivered more quickly.
At the time, Trafford Council said the four-year timescale for the Altair development was “reasonable” and subsequently refused the retail park scheme.
That refusal is subject to an appeal from Orchard Street Investment Management, which owns the retail park, that will be heard later this year.
However, the resubmitted Broadheath application will go before Trafford’s planning committee again next week with a recommendation to approve, with the council’s planning officers satisfied that Lidl is committed to delivering both Altrincham stores.
The council added that the benefits of the retail park store, in terms of a boost to the local economy and job creation, outweigh the applicant’s failure to comply with the sequential test.
“Preventing a new Lidl food store at the application site until such time as the Lidl at Altair is advanced would in fact be to delay the aforementioned benefits,” a report to Trafford’s planning committee said.
The Altair unit is not expected to be ready for occupation for at least three to four years, but the retail park food store could be open and trading within 12 months from a grant of planning permission, the council said.
While Lidl remains committed to delivering both Altrincham stores, the council said “there can be no firm guarantee that the Lidl at Altair will come about, within the expected timeframe on indeed at all”, adding extra weight in favour of approval of the Broadheath project.
If approved, the Homebase unit would be expanded to cover a total of 58,000 sq ft, and be subdivided to provide two retail units – one for Lidl and one for Homebase.
Lidl would occupy 20,000 sq ft and Homebase the other 40,000 sq ft.
The plans also propose 13,200 sq ft for a garden centre for Homebase, to be located next to the unit.
The architect for the project is the Harris Partnership, and Rapley’s and Montagu Evans are the planning consultants for Lidl and Homebase respectively.
Orchard Street Investment Management bought Altrincham Retail Park from investor the Crown Estate for £63m in 2017.