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Monday, July 26, 2021

Wheels turn on bus route to store plan

Aldi has renewed its commitment to working “actively” for a bus route to its new Biddulph store, after concerns that a travel plan “ignores” a popular service for older users.

There were fears that because the town council-run 93 bus was not mentioned in a document submitted by the company detailing how shoppers would get to the store, it was no longer being prioritised by the supermarket chain.

But in a statement this week, a spokesperson confirmed that Aldi was still working with partners to deliver a bus route through the site off Tunstall Road, and a “proposed scheme” had now been sent to the county council for review.

The fears arose at a meeting of Biddulph Town Council last week. It has been pushing for bus access since Aldi first submitted an application to build on the old Meadows School site, arguing that a route to the store would improve “connectivity” with the high street.

At the Planning Committee meeting last Tuesday, Independent Coun Dave Hawley said: “The travel plan is primarily directed at reducing unnecessary or unsustainable car travel made by employees at all levels, including management.

“The travel plan also addresses customer travel, although by the very nature of retail land use, the majority of journeys are taken by car. There will, however, be opportunities where the number of unnecessary car trips can be reduced.

“As far as bus travel is concerned, the document highlights a number of services, but there is no mention of the 93 bus or Aldi’s contention that it would help to facilitate the route.

“Given that the travel plan ignores the 93 bus, I would recommend that we refer this back to Aldi and ask them to include something on it.”

Just three days later, the company alleviated concerns after a spokesperson said: “Aldi is working actively and cooperatively with Biddulph Town Council and bus operators to deliver a bus service through the proposed site.

“This will require consent from county council officers, and the proposed scheme has been sent to them for review. We hope to be in a position to update the local community shortly.”

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