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Plans for new Aldi and drive-thru approved

A new Aldi store and a Starbucks drive-thru planned for Congleton should be open for business next year.

Cheshire East’s Strategic Planning Board approved the scheme for the supermarket, coffee shop and another retail unit at Viking Way on Wednesday – although the application has been delegated back to officers to consider the implications of a bat survey on a tree that will have to be removed, (writes local democracy reporter Belinda Ryan).

The committee was told by planning officer Adrian Crowther that if the survey found there was a bat roost that could not be mitigated against, the application would have to be brought back to committee – but he said that “hopefully” that would not happen.

The scheme is earmarked for a parcel of land that forms part of a much larger site, which already has planning permission for a number of uses.

The applicant’s agent, Alice Routledge, said it had received support from local residents and the local parish council.

She listed a number of benefits, including economic and environmental.

“The proposals will contribute to the local economy with the Aldi store creating up to 40 full-time equivalent jobs and an investment of approximately £7m into Congleton’s economy,” she said.

“Up to 20 full-time jobs will also be created by Starbucks,” said Ms Routledge. “Aldi and Starbucks intend to be operational on this site during 2024.”

Aldi has told the Chronicle that it’s West Heath store will stay open.

Coun Stewart Gardiner (Knutsford) said the design officer had raised concerns about the design and put forward suggestions, including for a green wall.

“I would like to know why your client chose not to proceed with those requests,” he said.

The agent said they had looked at the proposal for a green wall but added: “We believe that the design is strong enough without it.”

She said green walls were also costly to maintain.

Coun Fiona Wilson (Macclesfield) said she was pleased with the proposal and would be supporting it.

She did, however, express concern that only eight of the 133 parking spaces at the supermarket were accessible spaces. She acknowledged that they met council policy and said that might be a policy which should be reviewed in the future.

She added: “It is quite pleasing and unusual to see the amount of public support.”

The application was moved for approval by Coun Gardiner and seconded by Coun Steve Edgar (Haslington).

Couns voted unanimously to approve the scheme, subject to conditions and it being delegated back to officers to consider the result of the bat survey.


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