Poll: Should Aldi be granted extra space to open store in Holt?

PUBLISHED: 10:33 14 May 2014 | UPDATED: 10:33 14 May 2014

Thaxters wood merchants, Holt.

Thaxters wood merchants, Holt. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

Aldi could be opening its doors in Holt after the Co-op pulled out of an out of town supermarket deal.

The German-based discount food giant is “enthusiastic” about opening a store on the old Thaxter’s wood yard site on Old Station Way, according to developer Tim Schofield partner of Norwood Homes.

Some Holt Chamber of Trade members have claimed Aldi’s application to extend the area for non-food items - including garden furniture, DIY and camping equipment - from 10pc to up to 20pc could affect town centre trade.

Mr Schofield added: “We thought Aldi was not represented in north Norfolk and because of that it would become a strong destination for the town. A lower-priced supermarket is desperately needed in Holt.”

Last night (Monday) town council members voted unanimously in favour of the proposal to vary planning conditions for the store.

North Norfolk District Council development committee is due to discuss the application on June 12.

Committee members granted full planning permission for a supermarket with a 90-space car park in September last year and Anglia Regional Cooperative Society took up the site in October last year.

A spokesperson from Central England Co-operative confirmed the society was no longer involved with the Holt site but did not explain why.

Aldi was one of three supermarket chains to come forward after Co-op pulled out of the deal two months ago, according to Mr Schofield.

The German chain has signed a temporary contract with Norwood Homes and several conditions were currently being ironed out.

Mr Schofield said 72pc of people in Holt did not do their weekly shop in the town and hoped Aldi - interested in a long-term commitment - would attract some back.

The developer and town councillors, during the council meeting, believed the store would bring more people into the town traditionally seen as an upmarket shopping destination.

Mr Schofield said the extra space allowed the store to have flexibility with regard to non-food items sold on promotional days but the 90-space car park would remain with three hours free parking.

Town improvements through a Section 106 agreement would also be upheld.

At the council meeting member Elizabeth Traynier said: “It is going to be exciting and worthwhile to Holt. Where else in the town can you buy a tent?”

Maggie Prior said there was a huge buzz about the development from residents.

But Duncan Baker, councillor and chamber of trade member, initially thought the news of Aldi moving into Holt was “fantastic” but said the application to increase the area for non-food sales could “set the wrong precedent”.

He said: “The whole point of putting a 10pc limit on non-food space was to sell food and protect what we have in the town centre. Aldi has ripped up the rule book. It is the tip of the iceberg.”

The nearest Aldi stores to Holt are in Norwich and King’s Lynn.

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