Strong support in community for new Lidl store plan

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

Lidl hopes to build a new store in Downham Market after submitting a planning application to West Norfolk Council. - Credit: Archant

Strong support has been expressed for a new Lidl store in a Norfolk town, which the supermarket giant says will represent a multi-million pound investment if given the go-ahead.

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

It also includes 138 car parking spaces, with six of those disabled spaces, two electric vehicle charging points and eight parent and child spaces.

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

A consultation was set up to hear people's views on the proposal, and WNC's planning website shows strong support from members of the public, with 93 in favour and 12 objections.

Trudy Oughton said: "I believe it is in the best interests of Downham residents to have as much variety for shopping locally. 

"Better for the environment, rather than having to travel further for this kind of shop."

However, the proposed new shop has raised questions over the viability of the town's more centrally-located Morrisons store, prompting Lynne Hubbard to object to the application.

"Lidl's will not be convenient for people in the town like myself with no transport and as it is out of town is unlikely to bring people into town either," she said.

It comes after Morrisons objected to plans for the new Lidl, saying it will have a "significantly adverse impact on its store and the wider town centre".

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It previously said: "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."

King's Lynn and West Norfolk Bicycle Users Group also objected in a letter to WNC saying it "gives no priority to cycle movements, and does nothing to minimise conflicts between cyclists and vehicles."

But following the consultation, a Lidl spokesperson said they were "thrilled" with the positive response from the local community, adding: "If approved, the new store would mark a multi-million pound investment and the creation of around 40 new jobs when the store opens, which would be fantastic for the local community.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank residents for their support and feedback so far and we look forward to receiving a decision in due course."

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