Rival retailers have clashed about a proposed new store in Bognor Regis.
Lidl has protested about the proposed presence of rival discount retailer, Aldi, directly opposite its planned new outlook.
The Salt Box development in Shripney Road, of which the 1,785sq m Aldi will form the principal tenant, has again been deferred by Arun District Council.
Councillors were due to have debated granting planning permission at Wednesday’s meeting of the development control committee.
But they were told it was withdrawn from the committee agenda. Their debate is now likely to take place at the committee’s August 7 meeting. The Environment Agency has since added its concerns about the site’s drainage.
Meanwhile, Lidl has told the council of its unhappiness with the Salt Box proposals.
Comments on its behalf by town planner Jason Lowes state: “The proposed Aldi store potentially threatens the provision of the committed Lidl store on Oldlands Farm investment by introducing an entirely new convenience discount retailer in close proximity to the proposed Lidl store at Oldlands Farm.
“Our assessment is that a trade diversion of £5.54m, or 41 per cent, from Lidl at Oldlands Farm to the proposed Aldi foodstore at Salt Box is more likely.”
This was greater than the 24 per cent, or £3.27m of the Lidl’s forecast turnover in 2022, set out in the planning application for Salt Box.
“We consider that this figure under-represents the actual level of trade diversion from Lidl, which is likely to be materially greater.
“This is because of two main factors:
*The ‘like trades with like’ principle – Aldi is the main discount retail convenience competitor to Lidl
*The close proximity of the proposed Aldi store to the Lidl, Oldlands Farm, committed
Mr Lowes said the impact of the Aldi on other retailers in Bognor Regis – like Tesco, Sainsburys and Morrisons – had also been understated by Aldi.
The prospect existed as well of Lidl’s existing store in the Peel Centre, Shripney Road, being occupied by another discount retailer to add further competition to the proposed Lidl, he said.
Arun has also commissioned its retail assessment into the impact of the planned Aldi.
Its consultants, GL Hearn, state the intended store would draw only a small amount of trade from the town centre.
“Although a slightly higher level of additional trade may be drawn from Bognor Regis town centre than that identified by the applicant, and despite only having moderate health, the proposal would be unlikely to have (a) significant adverse impact on the overall vitality and viability of Bognor Regis town centre,” the company states.
The impact on other retailers was fairly assessed.
Out of town stores like Lidl and Tesco would see most trade diverted to the new Aldi. But these were not protected under planning rules, it adds.