Plans for out-of-town Worksop Lidl are thrown out by councillors

Plans for a new Lidl opposite the train station in Worksop have been thrown out by councillors concerned about its impact on the town centre.

By Ben McVay
Friday, 11th December 2020, 4:45 pm

The decision comes after an independent report commissioned by the council found the discount food giant should consider locating its new branch at a vacant unit inside the Priory Centre.

Nexus Planning wrote how the development failed planning guidelines’ ‘sequential test’ - that out-of-town locations should only be considered when suitable central sites are not available.

The consultants also said ID Planning needs to update its assessment of the impact an out-of-town store would have on Worksop town centre’s ‘vitality’ and planned investments.

The Priory Shopping Centre, Worksop. Alan Janaszek / PhotoPro Images

Columbia Threadneedle Investments - who own The Priory Centre - argue they already have planning consent to partially-demolish the building - making way for a similar-sized retail unit.

However ID Planning - acting on behalf of Lidl - say Priory’s planned renovation would leave it with a narrower store than usual and would leave shoppers with no trolley area near the entrance.

Plans came before Bassetlaw Council just weeks after the publication of its masterplan - which set out schemes to revive the town centre.

The council proposes to build more housing in the town and bring new life to shops and night-time economy by, for example, opening Bridge Street to traffic and renovating the canalside.

Philip Jackson, chairman of Worksop Business Forum

Philip Jackson, chairman of Worksop Business Forum, welcomed the decision - adding: “We must encourage new business into the town centre rather than encourage people away.”

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He said: “When I saw that planning officers had recommended this for approval I couldn’t believe it.

“There is so much going on to improve the town and we need to concentrate on that - if the Priory had a foodstore it would concentrate business in the town centre.

Priory manager Steve Dacombe branded the plans 'a grave threat to the future of Worksop’s town centre'

“I know Lidl say the Priory doesn’t fit their model but maybe they need to be a little more flexible with the model if they want a store in Worksop.

“Now we have the masterplan in place we need to move that forward - it reflects an awful lot of things that have come out from businesses in meetings with the council over the last few years.”

Priory manager Steve Dacombe, reacting to the plans, told Worksop Guardian this month: “An out-of-town Lidl will affect our own redevelopment plans - impacting new investment and transferring trade away from our town centre.

“The application is a grave threat to the future of Worksop’s town centre - this couldn’t come at a worse time for many retailers already hurting from lockdown.”

However a spokesperson for applicant ID Planning said: “The site off Carlton Road is brownfield land which has been vacant for around 30 years.

"If approved, Lidl’s planning application will bring this site back to life and deliver significant benefits to Worksop - not just food shopping choice but also 70 new jobs and up to 71 new homes including affordable housing.

"A significant amount of work has been undertaken to rigorously review all aspects of this planning application, including the retail assessment.

"During the planning process Lidl’s advisers have provided lengthy justification to the council as to why the Priory Centre location is not deemed suitable for a Lidl foodstore.”

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