Published: 15:00, 02 June 2020
Aldi has been given the go-ahead to open a second supermarket in Canterbury after planning chiefs raised no fears over increased traffic on a notoriously busy road.
The budget chain, which already has a branch in Wincheap, will take up residence in the existing B&Q store, which is to be downsized and split into three separate units.
The supermarket will occupy about 45% of the existing DIY store, while a national coffee chain takes on 5% of the floorspace and B&Q retains 50%.
City council planning officers rubber-stamped the plans on Friday - giving their full seal of approval to all aspects of the plans.
The decision, which will secure B&Q's presence in the city, means three supermarkets - Aldi, Lidl and Asda - will all be just a stone's throw away from each other.
Officers say they analysed the envisaged extra traffic movements on Sturry Road and deemed the proposal acceptable.
Estimations made on behalf of the developer suggest there will be 38 extra vehicles on the road in peak afternoon hours and 41 during the Saturday peak.
When the Gazette revealed the plans two months ago, the reaction to an additional supermarket was warmly received.
Emma Jarrett said: "An Aldi this side of town would be a help as I go to Herne bay as I really can't stand the traffic trying to get to Wincheap.
Her views were echoed by many, while Mark Slater said: "What's wrong with a bit of healthy competition, it should help keep prices lower, that's the idea of competitive pricing."
Planning agents say the downsizing of B&Q will "enable it to adapt and respond to changing consumer patterns for DIY and gardening and related goods". Its reduced size will also ensure it can continue to trade at the Canterbury location.
Retail analysts' calculations show come 2025, 15% of Lidl's annual turnover will be diverted to Aldi, while a hefty 27% of Asda's income is expected to be swallowed up.
Trade at the nearby Kingsmead Sainsbury's is also predicted to take a hit, with a fifth of its annual turnover shifting into the pockets of its rival.
Overall, experts believe the new Aldi will secure a turnover of £10.3 million in 2025 - making it the eighth biggest money-making supermarket in the city.
The existing Aldi branch in Wincheap, which is deemed a "success", will continue to trade.
Developers hope to attract the likes of Starbucks and Costa to to fill the coffee shop unit next to Aldi.