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New store backed

A NEW Lidl store for Bognor Regis will help to create 100 jobs.


The company has been given approval to expand its presence in the town. Its plan for a new bigger outlet on the opposite side of the A29 from its current store has been backed unanimously by councillors. The scheme is also expected to enable The Range to move into the town.


Ben Read, the planning agent for the developer, said: “This will create about 100 full-time equivalent jobs in total, of which 70 will be new jobs for the area.”


The plans would enable two new businesses to open on the site of Oldlands Farm in Steyning Way.


“One of those will be relocating to the area and one a new business to the area,” he told Arun District Council’s development control committee on Wednesday.


“Approving this scheme will provide an attractive gateway to the wider site and a clear signal of investor confidence in the district.”


The scheme had been overwhelmingly backed at a recent exhibition, he said. It would not add to the retail element of the site’s development plan but alter the goods which could be sold within it and would also allow one of the approved units to be sub-divided into two.


Hanbury (PM) Ltd, the site’s developers, had asked Arun to vary the original consent for the land’s development. The council had restricted the retail use to bulky goods, like fridges and freezers, to limit the impact of a new store on established retail areas.


But Hanbury sought to change this to enable discount convenience, or everyday, goods to be sold from 1,325sq m of the previously agreed 4,366sq m of retail space.


Its retail consultants had estimated the new Lidl’s turnover would be £8.21m a year helped by its extra 316.7sq m. Some 70 per cent of this will come from the existing store. Most of the rest will come from Tesco, M&S Foodhall and Sainsbury’s.


Arun planning officer David Easton told the committee its retail consultants had shown a slightly higher impact. But the Lidl should still be allowed.


“Therefore, the level of trade diversion and impact are not expected to cause trading difficulties for food stores located within Bognor Regis town centre,” he said.


The impact of retail uses had been considered on the surrounding roads.


But Cllr Paul Wells (LD, Hotham) said: “I have an issue to do with the highways. We all know the pressure that particular network is under at the moment.


“It just seems to me we keep piling the pressure on. It would not be so bad if it was for an industrial unit but increasing the retail use means there is going to be a constant flow of traffic to the site all day long.”


The Bognor Regis Regeneration Board had called for the new Lidl to be part of Arun’s plans for the Hothamton car park in Queensway.

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