Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s revealed this week that it has sold the former Rutland County College site to discount food chain Lidl.
The sale represents the third supermarket to have shown an interest in building on the land, off Barleythorpe Road.
Prior to Sainsbury’s buying the site and submitting a planning application in 2012, Waitrose had also shown an interest in buying the site, formerly owned by Tresham, but talks broke down.
Sainsbury’s was given planning permission in March 2013 and began preliminary works a year later to clear the site and demolish the former college. But last June, it announced its plans were “no longer viable” due to “shopping patterns changing considerably.”
It then revealed on Tuesday it had sold the site on to Lidl.
A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said: “We have agreed to sell the site to Lidl who will be bringing forward plans for a new store.”
A spokesman for Lidl confirmed it was intending to build one of its “Lidl of the future” concept stores, which aim to cut CO2 emissions.
She said the company is planning a public consultation event for June, ahead of submitting an application.
Rutland County Council has been made aware of the sale. Leader of the council and portfolio holder for development Terry King said: “The council has received confirmation that Sainsbury’s has sold the former Rutland College site in Oakham to Lidl, who will now bring forward plans for a new store.
“We are pleased that the future of the site has been decided in a timely manner and that it will be used to further improve retail capacity in Rutland – creating jobs and providing greater choice for shoppers.
“The council will now work with Lidl as the process of submitting plans for the site moves forward.”
The sale of the Barleythorpe Road site is the latest in a long line of supermarket developments for Oakham.
Sainsbury’s had originally put in a planning application for a site between the bypass and Lands’ End Way, which was rejected. An application for an Aldi store was later approved and then a second application for a bigger Aldi store was approved in February this year.
Tesco, which already has a store in South Street, put in a planning application in 2011 to double the size of its store, but also dropped those plans last year.
Since then, the Co-operative in Burley Road has been extended and a Marks and Spencer Simply Food has also opened at the petrol station on the bypass.