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Major retailer wants to open

BRITAIN’s fastest growing supermarket is committed to opening in Bognor Regis.


Aldi has agreed to be a major presence on a planned new £10m development along the A29.


The discount retailer has more than doubled its market share since 2010 and has included the town in its target of 1,000-plus stores within four years.


The news was revealed by the developer of the Saltbox site in Shripney Road, north of its junction with Rowan Way.


Landlink Estates is submitting a planning application to Arun District Council next week to enable its latest designs to be approved. They will create between 500 and 1,000 jobs depending on the final mix of occupiers.


Arfon Hughes, its planning consultant, said: “Aldi are very keen to have this location and the benefit of having Aldi there is that they contribute to the viability of the overall project. The capital receipts from Aldi help the entire project come forward.”


Planning tests had been carried out to show Aldi’s arrival would not harm the town centre and no other suitable site existed for the company, he said.


“Lidl has been approved across the road and, in some respects, that establishes some precedent,” Mr Hughes said.


His comments came during a presentation on Tuesday to Bersted Parish Council.


Landlink Estates was last at the council about 16 months ago to give details of its original proposals.


These were approved by Arun last December but failed to be built because of a lack of funding for the site’s infrastructure.


Much of the latest scheme is the same but the presence of Aldi and a showroom for the Richmond Motor Group replace the previous hotel, pub and gym.


One constant is family baker Warburtons. The company remains eager for a distribution depot – and wants it to open in just over a year.


Mr Hughes said: “Warburtons want to get on site. Unsurprisingly, it will be an industrial unit to their specification. They have a very pressing timescale to come here in early 2020.”


To meet that, Landlink hoped to get the plans approved by Arun next spring and start work in the summer. The rest of the 12-hectare site will comprise trade units for small businesses and a drive-thru food outlet.


Will Marsh, the site’s development manager, said he was confident all the units would be filled.


“The demand in Bognor for business spaces is very good. We are talking to people all the time about the remaining space,” he said.


Parish council chairman Cllr Brian Knight said: “As a parish, we welcome anything that brings employment but, also as a parish, we are very disappointed you have not looked at the relief road.”


He said parish councillors hoped part of the Saltbox site could have been used for a link between the two sections of the northern relief road to bypass congested Rowan Way.


Cllr Gill Yeates, who chairs the parish planning committee, said she had hoped for more features to protect wildlife at the neighbouring Bersted Brooks local nature reserve.


Cllr David Meagher called for measures to promote environmental good practice, such as solar panels and electric vehicle charging points, to be installed at the site.

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