Barnoldswick Aldi planning appeal is rejected

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A planning inspector has dismissed two appeals from an Aldi-backed consortium for a Barnoldswick store.

Government-appointed Robin Brooks’s decision was announced on Monday.

Skipton Road Business Park, Barnoldswick

Skipton Road Business Park, Barnoldswick

He concluded that with an already-approved supermarket on the Albert Hartley site at Crownest Mill, the cumulative impact of a second sizeable store would harm the vitality and viability of Barlick’s town centre.

The plans for the 1,472 sq. m. Aldi on Skipton Road Business Park with access and car parking were refused by Pendle Council’s West Craven Area.

He concluded that with an already-approved supermarket on the Albert Hartley site at Crownest Mill, the cumulative impact of a second sizeable store would harm the vitality and viability of Barlick’s town centre.

The plans for the 1,472 sq. m. Aldi on Skipton Road Business Park with access and car parking were refused by Pendle Council’s West Craven Area Committee in August last year.

A second appeal, for permission to construct the store on conservation area land, was also dismissed.

In reaching his conclusions, Mr Brooks said that he agreed Barnoldswick’s centre “is currently vital and viable” but “these qualities are potentially quite fragile”.

Mr Brooks also stated he was “sceptical” of the amount of trade both the proposed Aldi and committed Crownest Mill store would receive from outside the Barnoldswick catchment area.

He also said he was sceptical of the “scale of ‘clawback’” in trade from stores from surrounding towns.

Mr Brooks did acknowledge a number of benefits the proposed Aldi would bring, “including a widening of consumer choice, enhanced competition and creation of economic stimulus in line with national guidance”.

He also added there would be environmental benefits “in the redevelopment of an unattractive site” and that these “significant benefits” were “not to be lightly discounted”.

That said, he concluded he had given “particular weight” to national planning policy framework guidance on supporting the vitality and viability of town centres at the heart of their communities.

Appellant, Mark Taylforth, of Kelbrook-based Pendle Projects Ltd, said: “The overwhelming majority of residents we spoke to during the planning application process said they wanted a moderately sized food store, such as Aldi in Barnoldswick, and we thought our proposal provided such a facility for the town.

“The fact that West Craven councillors decided that the town shouldn’t have such a facility was disappointing.

“But that is compounded by an Inspector, who knows nothing about Barnoldswick, to decide that the people of the town shouldn’t have a moderately sized store to allow them to do their weekly shop without having to drive to Colne or Skipton.”

Neil Watson, Pendle Council’s Planning Manager, said: “We want to encourage business as far as we can in Pendle but that development must be right for the area.

“Clearly we are happy the inspector found we were correct in our assessment.”