The supermarket chain ALDI has won its appeal against North Dorset District Council’s decision to refuse its application to build a store on the outskirts of Gillingham.
The company lodged an appeal after NDDC ruled in 2017 that the plans for a 1,254 sq m store at Park Farm on the Kingsmead Business Park on Shaftesbury Road would take away land intended to create employment, impact the town centre and disrupt plans for planned centre of the Southern Extension development. The council also said that other sites in the area had not been fully considered.
At the time an ALDI spokesperson told Gillingham & Shaftesbury News: ‘There are no other sites in Gillingham that are available and suitable for ALDI, so the only other option would be to progress plans elsewhere in the region.’
Responding to the news Gillingham deputy mayor Barry Von Clemens said: ‘I welcome the decision and the building of this new store will provide the residents in the southern part of the town closer access to grocery shopping which will hopefully lead to a reduction in car journeys in and out of the centre of town for one stop shopping trips.’
The appeal was held over five days in mid-November and included a site visit. The judgement gives ALDI permission for ‘the erection of a Class A1 foodstore (1786 sq m gross) with associated access, car parking and landscaping.’
The decision stated that the application was refused by NDDC on seven grounds but that two of the issues, relating to highways and trees, had been resolved by the time of the appeal.
In a 79-point judgement, the inspector, Phillip Ware, stated that although he was ‘not persuaded that the appeal scheme accords with the development plan in relation to the scale of the proposal, I do not consider it would prejudice the satisfactory development of the local centre.’
He also judged that there were no other possible sites for the supermarket and that there would not be ‘any harm relating to the provision of employment land in the area. The less than substantial heritage harm is significantly outweighed by the public benefits of the proposal’.
He also supported the development of what is a vacant site and would ‘bring forward a retail facility for the benefit of the area.’