Plans for a new Lidl store in Oakham – which would create up to 40 jobs – have gone on display in the town.
A public exhibition was held at the Victoria Hall on Wednesday to give local people the chance to view drawings and artist impressions and chat to Lidl staff about their vision for the former Rutland County College site in Barleythorpe Road.
In March 2013, Sainsbury’s obtained planning permission to build a supermarket on the 0.97 hectare site but later decided not to proceed. The site was recently purchased by Lidl and, following the public exhibition, a new planning application is likely to be submitted in mid-July.
If permission is granted, the 2,460 square metre store could potentially be built and ready to welcome its first customers in 18 months’ time.
Mike Devine, Lidl’s aquisitions manager, said: “We came here today to talk to the public and see what people think about the plans.
“I’m pleased to say that the reaction so far has been extremely positive and people have been saying ‘how soon can you build it’.
“If we get planning permission, this will be a bigger store than many of our others. There will be more space for tills, better facilities for customers, bigger and better toilets, and self-service tills too.
“There is a Tesco store here already, and an Aldi on the way, but we are confident there is demand for a Lidl and, subject to planning, we look forward to the future here.”
The proposed Lidl store would have 126 car parking spaces, with five disabled bays and seven parent and child bays, plus bike storage.
A new access route for vehicles is proposed off Lands’ End Way, in the north east corner of the site. This would be used to accomodate all traffic to and from the north, including deliveries. All HGVs would route to and from the site via Burley Park Way.
The existing access in the south east corner of the site would be used by traffic approaching from Barleythorpe Way. Lidl proposes improvements to address visibility and pedestrian access issues. A dedicated pedestrian access route would also be provided from Lands’ End Way.
It is proposed the store would be open between 7am and 10pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sundays.
One of those viewing the plans on Wednesday was Empingham resident Barry Chalmers-Stevens.
He said: “My wife and I regularly go the Lidl store in Stamford – we think their products are not only great value but also excellent quality and I would welcome a new store here in Oakham.
“My only criticism is I don’t think they have allowed for enough disabled parking bays, but aside from that I think it would be good for the town.”
If you did not make it to the exhibition, the proposals are available to view online at https://rapleys.com/ consultation/lidloakham/
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