FRESH plans for a new ALDI will be discussed at a meeting of Stroud District Council on Tuesday.
The proposals - which are recommended for approval - would see the creation of the discount food supermarket alongside wider development of the Bath Road Trading Estate.
Plans include the refurbishment and reconfiguring of part of the existing commercial buildings, the demolition of the current auction house building, a row of industrial buildings and the 1960s office tower to provide a new retail store.
This is not the first time ALDI has put forward planning permission to build a store on this site, the first application was controversially refused in November 2016 by the council’s development control committee.
After ALDI was refused in November there was significant public outcry against the decision, with an SNJ poll seeing an overwhelming support for the store.
More than 300 people took part in an online ballot– of which 82 per cent said they were in favour of an Aldi on the Bath Road estate.
As a result of the November rejection, ALDI returned to the drawing board and has been working hard with landowner, Wagner Developments, to develop improved proposals which deliver a much wanted food store and also provide improved employment space for new and existing local businesses with the estate.
A spokesperson for Wagner Developments confirmed: “This proposal isn’t just about ALDI. If approved, the plans will secure the necessary investment to bring vacant and unviable employment units back into beneficial use and intensify the employment provision at the site, for the benefit of existing and new businesses.”
An ALDI spokesperson added:“We know many local people would love ALDI to open in Stroud, so they have easier access to our high quality, great value offer. We are confident that the new proposals provide the best possible option for a new discount food store in Stroud.
“A new ALDI alone will create up to 50 direct job opportunities, but overall, the improvements would enable a significant uplift in the overall number of jobs provided at the site.
“We are 100% committed to the delivery of our plans, and can’t wait to start work on site as soon as possible.”
ALDI’s pre-application consultation highlighted that 84% of local people support the plans and in recent weeks the Council has received around 100 letters emphasising residents’ support for the application.
The ALDI spokesperson concluded,“Having the support of local people should really make a difference.
"We are delighted that so many people have already taken the opportunity to write to make their views known and would encourage anyone who would like the plans to be approved to attend the committee meeting and hear what elected members have to say first hand.”
If the new joint planning application is successful, the applicants are committed to progressing the development this year, to provide the ALDI store and new jobs that the local community is keen to see without delay.
However, the issue has divided many in the community who disagree on whether Stroud town needs another large supermarket, and whether the Bath Road site is the best place for it.
Readers have voiced both praise and concern for the project, with messages on our Facebook page saying: "It will help people on the bread line young or old & good for jobs too"
"Without doubt a good idea if it is what the community want"
“Let's face it the site is falling down anyway so make something of it as the landlord won't spend anything on it to do it up. It's just a pension fund”
Others are concerned about traffic in the area and the affect it will have on surrounding businesses.
"Don't mind Aldi just not where they are asking to put it that road is a nightmare now to get out onto Aldi would just add to the danger and traffic"
"Just cause more traffic jams. A terrible place to drive out of. Too dangerous. Needs a lot more space than Lightpill. Just take a look at the traffic build up at Waitrose, Sainsbury's and Morrisons. Tesco has the best of car parks."
"Not on this site. It's a working trading estate, even though the landlord is trying to portray it as derelict. Stroud council should really stop to think what they will be loosing by allowing this on bath road."
While a majority of the public support ALDI coming to the area, councillors on Stroud District Council (SDC) voted against their own officer’s advice last November to throw out the original blueprint.
They argued the supermarket would damage the vitality and viability of town centres, displace businesses on site and cause traffic problems along the A46 through Dudbridge.
Nailsworth Town Council have issues with the new plans, they are concerned about the loss of trade and therefore employment in town.
The meeting will take place Tuesday, April 25 at the earlier time of 2.30pm at the council offices in Ebley Mill.