Green light for Lidl to move to new purpose-built Futura Park store
- Credit: Jason Noble
Lidl are set to close their Ravenswood store and open a new shop opposite at Futura Park after planning permission was approved.
The new store, off Nacton Road, will be purpose built and larger than the current site on the Ravenswood development.
Ipswich Borough Council’s planning and development committee on Wednesday voted nine to three in favour of the supermarket chain creating the new store following delays caused by confusion around whether a legal agreement was needed for the retailer to find a new use for its existing store, although that has now been put into the planning conditions.
It has been confirmed that all existing staff will move across with the store to its new unit, and a further 10 new jobs will be created.
Mark Harris, Planning Direct agent on behalf of applicant Aquigen, said: “They have outgrown their current premises and require a larger building with more parking,” adding that it would be “a brand new district food store to provide, maintain and enhance the shopping experience to meet the needs of our customers”.
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He confirmed that while no legal agreement is now needed on finding a new use for the existing store, the company was committed to helping secure its future.
He said: “Lidl has a long leasehold interest on the existing building and is committed to its beneficial re-occupation as soon as possible.”
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The new store will feature 1,414 square metres of sales floor, and 122 car parking spaces.
Vehicle access will be from the existing Crane Boulevard entrance used for other parts of Futura Park.
The store has also included a host of environmental measures, including use of air source heat pumps and solar panels.
Developers will have to remove16 trees which have not been fully established, but a replacement programme will mean 22 new trees are planted elsewhere on the site.
Councillor Carole Jones said: “This is a vacant site in the Futura Park development. Something is going to come here and this seems to me a reasonable application – in fact it is popular with the local community.
“It increases jobs, it releases that site in the existing district centre for other uses – it could be a sub-division, and it is in the applicant’s interest to have that taken by business uses of some kind.”
No objections were received by members of the public for the plans.
However, Cllr Oliver Holmes raised fears over the viability of the current site when Lidl leaves, and said conditions requiring the retailer to help secure a future use were not enforceable.
Cllr Ian Fisher said: “I am extremely concerned about the impact this has on traffic in Nacton Road and the roundabout that probably has the worst reputation in the whole of Ipswich.”
He added: “It’s excellent to see a development of this size and see some kind of use put there in an empty plot, but for the sake of what doesn’t amount to a huge amount of money I don’t understand why we cannot have some mitigation there.”
The council’s report said around 272 two-way vehicle movements would be expected in a peak hour on Saturdays, or 189 on an evening weekday peak hour of 5-6pm.
Suffolk County Council’s highways team removed its objection prior to the application being decided.
Conditions have been added that deliveries cannot take place between midnight and 6am, and a marketing strategy for the existing store must be submitted and approved before development can begin.