Cheshire East Council has deferred a decision on Wilmslow’s new Lidl supermarket for a second time, following fierce criticism of the scheme from locals and MP Esther McVey.
The council’s Northern planning committee was due to rule on the planning application at a meeting yesterday, but decided against determining the proposals.
Councillors voted five to five to defer ruling on the application, meaning the decision not to proceed with the application was made by chairman Cllr George Walton.
The planning committee said the deferral would allow more time for Lidl to engage with planning officers to reduce the size of the store and increase the amount of car parking space at the site.
It is the second time the plans have been deferred, with a decision originally due to be made on the committee on 7 December last year, after councillors sought further information on the scheme’s transport and highways implications, and an additional representation from the Public Health Department on the loss of the leisure centre.
The plans, which include the demolition of the existing Lidl store and a neighbouring leisure centre and the construction of a larger supermarket, have been met with criticism from locals.
Local residents had objected to the loss of the leisure centre, which had 3,000 members and includes a gym, swimming pool, and social space.
MP for Tatton Esther McVey also argued the need for the development “is not demonstrated” and said the new store would be against planning policy
The fitness centre closed on 31 December 2017 after “significant pressure on cash flow”, and “a major loss of monthly membership due to the uncertainty of the club”, according to the centre’s directors. The club’s members were recommended to switch to Energie’s Stanley Green facility, two miles away.
Lidl’s planning application also received 415 letters of objection from residents, and a petition against the scheme received around 600 signatures.
However, planning officers said the loss of the leisure centre was not a reason to refuse, and said there was “adequate supply” to meet demand without the leisure centre.
Councillors noted they had received letters both supporting and against the application.
The Secretary of State has also received a request to intervene on the application, meaning any resolution will be subject to a decision by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
The professional team on the project includes One Design as architect.