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Sevenoaks: Waitrose objects to new Aldi

By Claire McWethy

Supermarket wars are hotting up in one Kent town, after Waitrose objected to Aldi moving onto its turf.

The high-end store wrote to Sevenoaks District Council to oppose plans for its discount rivals to set up shop at the Haywards car dealership in Otford Road.

Aldi wants to demolish the showroom and build a 1,500sqm supermarket as part of a scheme that could bring up to 50 new jobs to the town.

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Aldi could be opening a store in Sevenoaks. Stock picture

Aldi could be opening a store in Sevenoaks. Stock picture

But in its letter, Waitrose warned it could drive out other businesses.  

Planning consultants Firstplan, writing on behalf of the supermarket, said: "Both the Sevenoaks and Edenbridge stores act as an anchor to the respective town centres and perform an essential role in supporting their health.

"Waitrose is concerned the proposed out of centre Aldi store will have a detrimental impact on the existing Waitrose stores, particularly the Sevenoaks store, which in turn will harm the vitality and viability of the town centre."

The letter goes on to say that the Sevenoaks Waitrose is already trading below expectations, meaning any extra competition may mean it has to rethink the site.

Waitrose in High Street, Sevenoaks

Waitrose in High Street, Sevenoaks

It says the town is already well served by supermarkets, with a Sainsbury's, Tesco, Tesco Metro, Lidl and Marks and Spencer Foodhall, and that a new Aldi would lead to people going out-of-town for their shopping.

But Aldi say the town has a "limited discount offer" and suggest the new store would provide some much-needed competition.

In its planning submission, the German chain says 70% of people who responded to its consultation supported an Aldi at the proposed location.

If given permission, the new store would open in 2018.

Would you like to see an Aldi in Sevenoaks?

So far there have been more than 20 submissions from members of the public, with a fairly even number in support and opposition.

Some neighbours have raised concerns over traffic and parking, but those in favour say it will bring down the cost of their food bill and be easier to get to than other supermarkets in the town.

To view and comment on the application, click here.

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