Morrisons objects to plans for out-of-town Lidl

The new Lidl supermarket in Sprowston Credit: Louisa Baldwin

Lidl is proposing to build a new store in Downham Market. Picture: Louisa Baldwin - Credit: Archant

Two supermarket giants are at loggerheads after one said a planned out-of-town rival store would take its business.

A bid for a new Lidl store in Downham Market has been put to West Norfolk Council (WNC), with a 1,414sqm site earmarked on land southwest of the A10 and Bexwell Road roundabout.

But rival shopping chain Morrisons, which has a store in the town centre, has objected to the plans - saying they will have a "significantly adverse impact on its store and the wider town centre."

The store proposals include associated parking and states it will create around 40 jobs.

The site of the proposed new Lidl supermarket next to the A10 at Downham Market Picture: Google

The site of the proposed new Lidl supermarket next to the A10 at Downham Market Picture: Google - Credit: Archant

But in a letter submitted to West Norfolk Council (WNC) on behalf of Morrisons, Peacock and Smith said the proposed development is also "contrary to local and national planning policy."

The planning consultants added that the council's own policy states it will "resist" out-of-town stores, to protect the town centre.

In the letter, the agent said the new store would also impact on the town's Iceland and Tesco stores.

It added: "Based on figures provided to us by Morrisons, we forecast that it will significantly reduce the turnover of the Morrisons store, bringing into question the continued viability of the store.

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"Morrisons continually reviews the performance of its stores and in recent years has closed underperforming town centre stores in Crawley, Shirley, Swindon and Wigan.

"The Morrisons store in Downham Market town centre is vulnerable to impact.

"There will be a knock-on effect for other retailers in the town centre as a result of reduced footfall. Developing a new out-of-centre Lidl will give people one less reason to visit the town centre."

Downham Market Town Council recommended approval to the planning application in December subject to some observations.

In a letter to the district council, it asked that the building is "sympathetic" and in keeping with the town.

Speaking at the launch of the consultation, Lidl GB’s regional head of property Andrew Hodgkinson said: “We are extremely excited about the prospect of opening a new Lidl in Downham Market and serving our fresh, quality and incredibly good value produce which shoppers across the country have come to love.

“Our plans are set to create around 40 new positions which would be fantastic for the local community."

Lidl has been contacted for further comment.

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