A discount supermarket chain has urged councillors to ignore their officers’ advice and support its planned move to Oakham.
Aldi wants to develop the land between the A606 Oakham bypass and Lands End Way.
The firm says it has huge public support for its plans, but Rutland County Council planning officers have recommended the application be turned down ahead of a development control committee meeting on Tuesday.
According to a report to councillors, the land has been set aside for use by other types of business, including offices, light industry, and storage and distribution. This policy is part of the council’s new site allocations and policies development plan document, which is due to go before full council for final approval on Monday.
The report goes on to say that the site is the largest available in Rutland for “employment land” and should be protected from other uses. But Aldi wants councillors to consider the public support for the project in their decision.
A spokesman said: “Obviously we are very disappointed to learn that officers are recommending refusal of our plans for Lands End Way, especially when you consider the extremely high level of positive feedback we received from the local community.
“Although the council’s planning policy allocates this area of land for employment uses, the site has been marketed for development for some time and no plans have come forward. Our proposals represent a deliverable opportunity to bring this area of site into active use, while creating real jobs for local people.”
The spokesman said there would be a question mark over the “long-term future” of the site if the plans were rejected.
The council received 460 letters in support of Aldi and three objections. Plans to build a Sainsbury’s on the same site were turned down in 2011 and the firm has since started to develop the old Tresham College site.
The land has been on the market for nine years. A Rutland County Council spokesman said: “Councillors have a difficult decision to make with regards to the Aldi application. The proposed site is allocated as quality employment land until 2026 and therefore earmarked for specific types of businesses – ensuring there are enough jobs to meet demand as Oakham grows. It is the responsibility of the landowner to market the site in line with this approved use.
“However, the council also understands there are a number of benefits associated with the creation of a new supermarket.
“The planning committee must now review all these points and decide whether they feel employment land is more important than the development of a discount retailer.”