Two developers are battling to win planning permission to build a new supermarket in Bakewell today (May 15).
A Peak District National Authority planning committee is to decide on a contentious planning application for Aldi to open a branch on the outskirts of the town while another application is pending for the neighbouring Riverside Business Park to also include a new store.
Officers have recommended that the committee approve Aldi’s application, made in January for a 1,200-square-metre supermarket, but Riverside developers say they will object because due process has not been given to ensure both applications are considered together.
Managing director of Litton Properties which owns Riverside Business Park Mark Twelves said: “They gave us an undertaking to consider both together which they’re reneging on.
“They said there is probably only the need for one foodstore, and said if we submit an application they could hold back Aldi’s application from committee.”
The company has been approached by other retailers although Aldi has specified it would not be viable for them to open a store on the Business Park.
Aldi also responded to objections from Riverside saying: “There is no evidence that an operator is interested in trading from the site. Retail need/capacity is not a material planning consideration.”
Freeths LLP said on behalf of Aldi: “The Aldi application does not prejudice the RBP prospects. If the RBP is appropriate on its own planning and commercial merits, it will be given the opportunity to proceed. It is not appropriate for the NPA to be asked, effectively, to slow-down the Aldi application to give the RBP proposal time to catch-up for reasons that are commercial in nature.”
The Riverside application was validated on April 30 and is due for a decision in June.
A main benefit of the Riverside plan would be improved access with a new bridge, enabling existing businesses to expand as well as attracting new tenants.
“But a new Aldi could jeopardise the bridge,” added Mr Twelves. “It will mean our plan is no longer viable and we’ll have to decide if we are going to submit a legal challenge.
“So tomorrow is about making sure the process is done properly because we don’t feel it is being dealt with fairly.
“Aldi would be a one-off windfall, whereas our plan allows for much more significant business use development and expanding existing companies like Pinelog. Riverside would only compliment Bakewell, and wouldn’t threaten the town centre.”
“They should be taking both to a full committee together. It’s an unecessarily messy situation.”