Support for new Lidl in Wisbech

Wisbech residents turned out in force to support plans to open a new supermarket in the town, despite a civic leader branding the store "cheap and nasty".

Wisbech residents turned out in force to support plans to open a new supermarket in the town, despite a civic leader branding the store "cheap and nasty".

More than 250 people attended an exhibition by Lidl showing details of the proposed £3.5m store retail bosses want to build on land near the mini-roundabout at Cromwell Road.

The new store would bring 40 new jobs to Wisbech, but the town council has objected to the plan, saying it would

be detrimental to local businesses and could create traffic problems.

At a recent planning meeting, former mayor Carol Cox went a step further and said the Lidl store was "cheap and nasty".

Her comment has been described as snobbish by a number of local residents, who have pointed out that many people in the town cannot afford to do their weekly shop at the more up-market superstores.

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However, people showed "overwhelming" support for the store when they attended the exhibition in the town earlier this week.

Matthew King, acquisition manager at Lidl, said the company had been looking to move to a site in Wisbech for the last decade.

He said: "The exhibition went very well; we had an overwhelming response from the public and about 250 people attended.

"They had a chance to sample some products and view the plans. There was also a 20 minute presentation.

"Everyone seemed to be positive about the plans."

He added that a number of councillors also attended the event.

There has been a huge furore in the town after the comments made by Mrs Cox.

Residents bombarded the local media to voice their opinions, saying they would welcome the Lidl store, which would have more competitive offers.

John Smithee, 46, who has lived in Wisbech all his life, said: "I think the new store would bring much needed jobs to the area and also increase competition and help those people who are living on a budget.

"I think the ex-mayor is a little out of touch with the people of Wisbech - there are a lot of people who are living on a low income."

Town councillor Paul Clapp branded the comments as disappointing but said he would be happy to shop at Lidl.

Mrs Cox was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Fenland Council is

expected to discuss the application at its next planning committee, later next month.