Councillors tonight (Tuesday, October 14) approved plans to build an Aldi supermarket in Oakham, going against their own officers’ recommendations.
More than 250 people packed into Rutland County Museum to hear the debate by Rutland County Council’s development control committee over the plans to build the 1,485sqm store on land between the A606 Oakham bypass and Lands’ End Way. So many people attended that the meeting was moved from its planned venue of the council offices in Catmose minutes before the meeting was due to start at 6pm tonight.
Planning officers had recommended the application be refused, saying that the area was designed for employment use for businesses such as offices, warehousing and manufacturing. Officers also said the supermarket would have a “detrimental impact upon linked trips to Oakham town centre”.
But in view of the huge public support for the plans, members of the development control committee decided to approve the plans with 10 members voting in favour of approving the plans and one abstention.
The mayor of Oakham Jayne Woodcock and Aldi’s property director for the Athestone region Ciaran Aldridge spoke ahead of the debate, which lasted more than an hour, urging councillors to vote in favour of the store, which will create up to 40 jobs.
Councillors also heard that there had been hundreds of letters and e-mails of support from members of the community, as well as two petitions set up in favour of the plans.
After the meeting Mr Aldridge said he was “absolutely delighted” that council members had agreed to support the proposals and said that Aldi had been seeking to build a store in Oakham for more than 10 years.