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Aldi to open in Otford Road, Sevenoaks

By Claire McWethy

Aldi has won the battle of the supermarkets in one Kent town, after getting the green light for a new store despite Waitrose calling for planners to block the move.

The high-end chain had written to Sevenoaks District Council to oppose plans for its discount rivals to set up shop at Haywards car dealership, warning it could force the retailer to pull out of the town, and potentially drive out other businesses.

But last week Aldi received permission to demolish the Otford Road showroom and build a 1,500sqm supermarket.

An artist's impression of the new supermarket
An artist's impression of the new supermarket

In his report, planning officer Mike Holmes said there was a shortage of retail space and that the new store would be "complementary to the existing provision" of supermarkets.

He added: "The proposed development seeks to redevelop an existing brownfield site in the green belt from a garage showroom to a retail use.

"After reviewing the proposed development's potential effect on the town centre, I have concluded that there will be no adverse impacts on retail patterns within Sevenoaks.

"The proposed development is acceptable as it is demonstrated that there are no alternative sites that are available, suitable or viable for a retail development of this scale."

Reaction to the plans was mixed, with the council receiving 13 letters of support and 13 objections from the public.

Those in favour argued that competition was better for customers, the site was well chosen and that it would boost employment.

Sevenoaks Town Council had also backed the application.

But protestors said there was no need for such a large supermarket and complained about a potential increase in noise, pollution and traffic.

It is hoped the new store will bring up to 50 new jobs to the town.

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