Published: 15:11, 20 January 2021
| Updated: 16:42, 20 January 2021
A new Aldi will be built after plans were given the go ahead.
The supermarket at Neats Court, Queenborough, on the Isle of Sheppey has finally been signed off after plans were agreed by Swale councillors in November subject to tweaks on things including how pedestrians and cyclists will reach the store.
Officers, the three ward councillors, including Cllr Cameron Beart, and the chairman of the planning committee formed a working group and signed off details on Thursday last week .
Once built, the German-owned budget grocery chain is planning to close its 15-year-old Sheerness store in Millennium Way which it says is no longer "fit for purpose."
The site is already up for sale for £2m.
The move has brought complaints from town centre shoppers who say the only people who will benefit from the new site will be customers with cars. They have asked Aldi to keep the Sheerness store open, like Iceland did when it opened a new store at the Neats Court shopping park.
But Cllr Beart said: "The approval of this store is good news for the local economy, creates more local jobs and helps deliver infrastructure that I have been campaigning to get for a number of years now.
"There is understandably disappointment over the proposed closure of the Sheerness store but this is a business decision.
"Aldi have outgrown the existing site but given their continued investment in Swale, they have put forward proposals for this bigger and better flagship store at Queenborough which, for the majority of Island residents, will be more accessible than the existing one. "
Aldi says it wants to get the store built and open as soon as possible so it can close and redevelop its Sittingbourne store.
Cllr Beart added: "I suspect work will start on site very shortly."
There has already been drainage work on the site which is opposite the firm's distribution depot.
Both Tesco and Morrisons objected to the plans.