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Lidl launches plans for new Herne Bay supermarket near Greenhill, off the A2990 Old Thanet Way

By Jack Dyson

Budget supermarket Lidl has launched a fresh bid to open a new store off the Old Thanet Way near Herne Bay.

Supermarket bosses hope to build the store - which would create 40 full-time jobs - on land near Greenhill roundabout.

The German chain had a previous application to build on the land narrowly rejected by city councillors in March, by seven votes to six.

An image depicting how the store might look. Picture: Lidl (5313877)
An image depicting how the store might look. Picture: Lidl (5313877)

Planning officers had recommended it be turned down because the site is “protected open space”, providing a “natural green buffer” between the main road and nearby homes. They claimed there was no obvious need for the development that would outweigh the “material harm” it would cause to the area.

But Lidl remains steadfast in its desire to build in the town, and on Monday submitted fresh plans for a Herne Bay branch - which would join more than 700 of the stores across Great Britain.

In its application, the firm said: "The new Lidl store will provide the community with low-cost food products and large volume shopping, which will help to create a more sustainable community.

"The site is arranged to provide safe, direct and convenient vehicular and pedestrian access and will be within walking distance of many existing businesses and dwellings.

"The development will be open to the public during normal weekday and weekend trading hours.

"The store will support the ever-growing demand within the area of Herne Bay and surrounding local villages."

Supermarket bosses hope the store would open from 7am until 11pm daily.

The firm has applied to build on largely the same site as before, with the addition of a plot of land next to Greenhill roundabout - lying between the Thanet Way and Greenhill Bridge Road - which is currently occupied by several corrugated iron sheds.

Proposed site plan and main road layout. Picture: Lidl (5313881)
Proposed site plan and main road layout. Picture: Lidl (5313881)

Like the original bid, the new plans propose a 2,125sq m store with 125 parking spaces. But this time around, it is proposed the supermarket would lie closer to the Greenhill roundabout - while part of the site would be left undeveloped as a paddock area.

Herne Bay town centre councillor Andrew Cook, who supported Lidl’s original bid, says the new scheme will help tidy up the “tatty” corner of the main road.

“It’s not quite at the same location as before,” he said. “Position-wise, it’s actually better because it clears up the corner, which is a bit tatty.

“By moving it, it gives it a bit more open space at the other end of the site. I don’t think that on its own will necessarily swing the application in Lidl’s favour, though.”

Cllr Cook praised the new proposal for including plans to improve foot access to the site - through the construction of a signalised pedestrian and cycle crossing on the Thanet Way.

An illustrative image showing a birds-eye view of the proposed site. Picture: Lidl (5313872)
An illustrative image showing a birds-eye view of the proposed site. Picture: Lidl (5313872)

"It will mean people will be able to cross that road safely," said Cllr Cook.

“There are various changes to the application, but I don’t know whether they’ll actually be sufficient to persuade everyone to support it.

“I’d like to see it happen, but I wouldn’t put my money on it being approved at the moment.”

West Bay councillor Geoff Wimble, who voted against the original proposals, has urged Lidl to build the store on brownfield land rather than protected open space.

“I’ve got nothing against Lidl coming into the town,” he said. “But I wouldn’t support it on an emotional whim. I’d like to see it on a brownfield site.”

The independent councillor added that the chain needs to address nature and traffic safety fears.

Lidl's original application received a groundswell of local support, with the firm saying that more than 84% of the 2,382 responses to its public consultation were in favour of the scheme.

The new proposal is available for public comment on the council's planning website until December 7.

Lidl has been contacted for more information.

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