New Lidl could create 40 'living wage' jobs

Lidl hopes to buid a new store at Downham Market Picture: Louisa Baldwin

Lidl hopes to open a new store in Harleston on the Norfolk and Suffolk border - Credit: Archant

A new discount food shop could be built near the Norfolk/Suffolk border, creating dozens of new living-wage jobs.

Discount supermarket giant Lidl has submitted plans for the new store on land to the east of Mendham Lane in Harleston, near Diss.

The retailer has lodged plans with South Norfolk Council for a site measuring just under three acres, with a sales area of 1,256 square meters, stocking the full range of Lidl products and an in-store bakery.

Included in the plans are 132 car parking spaces, including two for electric vehicle charging, as well as roof-mounted solar panels to make the store more "environmentally efficient".

The store would open from 8am to 10pm Monday to Saturdays (including Bank Holidays); and 10am to 4pm Sundays.

The company's consultation website promises up to 40 new full-time equivalent jobs for local people, paying in line with the living wage foundation rate for "all eligible employees" and no zero-hours contracts.

The current living wage rate is £9.90 outside of London.

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The Mendham Lane site has been allocated for mixed-use in the local plan - a document outlining where homes and businesses should be built - with 360 new homes and 90 extra care housing units set for the area alongside retail space.

The developers said it anticipates a planning application for the remaining development to be "submitted imminently".

The German chain's closest supermarket is in Attleborough, almost 20 miles away.

A planning statement, submitted on behalf of Lidl, said the plan will help improve the retail offerings for Harleston and the surrounding areas.

It said: "The centre currently accommodates a variety of town centre uses such as home stores, variety stores, hairdressers, betting shops, hairdressers, but a limited range of food stores which include a medium-size Co-op, small Londis and McColl's stores. The centre also has a butchers and bakery.

"The proposal will improve customer choice and enhance the shopping experience for shoppers within Harleston and will provide a new shopping choice for the existing and future residents.

"The development would include highly sustainable features, such as a sustainable urban drainage system, a PV solar array and EV charging facilities."

To view and comment on the application search 2022/0015 on the South Norfolk Council planning portal.