A planning inspector’s decision on whether or not to approve an Aldi store in Barnoldswick is expected within several weeks.
Pendle Projects Ltd lodged an appeal in December, 2012, against a Pendle Council West Craven Committee decision in August last year refusing consent for the 1,472 sq. m. store including access and car parking located on the Skipton Road Business Park.
Mark Taylforth, owner of Pendle Projects, was joined at the Rainhall Centre for the appeal hearing last Thursday by Mike Clarke, Aldi’s North West Property Director, Daniel Brown from How Planning and Debbie Smith from Smith Planning Consultants.
Representing Pendle Council was Planning Manager Neil Watson, Chris Creighton from Peacock and Smith Chartered Town Planners and Rosemary Lyons, Pendle Council’s conservation officer.
The government appointed inspector, Robin Brooks, also heard a second appeal on the day too for a conservation consent application, also refused in August, 2012, as the Aldi would be within Barnoldswick’s Cornmill and Valley Gardens conservation area.
Mr Clarke said that Aldi was a deep discount store, offering a product range of 1,350 goods, capped at 2,500, in comparison to a supermarket which would stock in excess of 20,000 lines. He added that the store would employ between 18 and 20 full time equivalent staff.
Mr Creighton said that in his opinion, the Co-op store was the anchor which drew people in to Barnoldswick’s centre, and it followed that it helps to generate footfall in the town centre.
However, Mr Brown said in his opinion, he didn’t believe an Aldi would impinge on independent stores and the town centre impact would be “negligible”.
Mr Creighton said that he feared a “cluster to almost rival” the town centre would develop on Skipton Road with the Albert Hartley scheme directly opposite the proposed Aldi site with a Spar store further down the road.
Although Mr Clarke said they were “broadly in agreement” there would be no link trips on foot between Aldi and the town centre, 494 metres away, Mr Brown argued that it would create some link trips because at the moment, they didn’t exist at all.
Opinions between the two sides differed slightly on where trade would come from, with Mr Creighton thinking that 90% of trade would come from Barnoldswick itself and 10% from a wider catchment area, with Mr Brown putting his figures at 80% and 20%.
On the issue of the conservation area, there were aspects of the store design such as the retaining wall which concerned Mr Watson and Mrs Lyons, however, Miss Smith said that at the moment the site was “an eyesore” and that the “development would be a positive benefit”.