The discount supermarket chain wants to open a 20,000 sq ft store at Altrincham Retail Park off Manchester Road, but the council is set to block the proposals because Lidl has already agreed terms at another site in the town.
The plans have been recommended for refusal by Trafford Council because there is a “sequentially preferable site” within an Altrincham town centre residential scheme currently under construction.
At that scheme, Lidl has agreed terms with developer Nikal to build a store as part of the Altiar project. However, the supermarket chain deems it unlikely that scheme would be delivered within the next four years.
For this reason, it is seeking approval for an alternative outlet at Altrincham Retail Park.
However, the council believes that a four-year timescale to bring forward the branch at Altiar is “reasonable” and is therefore recommending the retail park scheme for refusal. Those plans would involve the reconfiguration of the existing Homebase store.
The DIY retailer currently occupies the 53,000 sq ft Unit 1 at Altrincham Retail Park, owned by Orchard Street Investment Management.
Under the plans, the 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.
Fergus Egan, head of retail property at Orchard Street, said: “Our plans would see £3m invested into Altrincham immediately, create around 40 new jobs this year, support a further 100 temporary construction posts and enable Homebase to continue operating at Altrincham Retail Park.
“We have answered all the concerns that have been raised during the planning process and are hopeful that councillors will recognise the very real economic benefits that Lidl’s first new store in Altrincham would bring.”
He added: “It will be a tragedy if we can’t find a route to work with council planners and overcome the technical issues cited as reasons to refuse planning permission.”
Lidl announced this month that it wanted to buy 60 sites each year as part of its UK expansion strategy.