THE chances of seeing a discount supermarket giant move into Slough retail park in Cippenham have become greater – but concerns over traffic have sparked calls for a new exit route.
The German food store Lidl has been eyeing to take up a place between ScS and Smyths Toy Store, which was formerly occupied by Harveys who went into administration in June 2020.
In a consultation, nearly 1,500 residents responded and 94 per cent wanted an affordable supermarket, four per cent said no, and two per cent were undecided.
But before it can move in, Lidl wanted to change the store’s previous condition to sell food and drink on the premises and vary its opening times and delivery hours.
The shop wants to open from 8am to 10pm on Mondays to Saturdays, and 10am to 5pm on Sundays and bank/public holidays.
The condition changes ultimately depended on councillors on the planning committee to decide, who convened on Wednesday, July 28.
Speaking at the meeting, the agent for the application, Colin Burnett, said: “The strong local support for the application reflects that Cippenham residents don’t currently have convenient access to a discount food store like Lidl.
“Market research submitted with the application shows that very few Cippenham residents’ shop at Lidl at Farnham Road and Farnham Road clearly serves a different catchment.
“So, the proposed Lidl store will provide a local discount food store for Cippenham. It will add to the range and choice of local shopping facilities and allow Cippenham residents to meet of their essential shopping needs locally.”
It will also provide 40 new jobs.
But councillor Haqeeq Dar (Ind: Wexham Lea) expressed concerns that this store will add to the ‘chock-a-block’ of traffic at peak times on Twinches Lane because of customers and delivery lorries.
He called for a new exit way connecting to Cippenham Lane to “take the burden away” from the traffic.
However, highway officers don’t believe the Lidl store will create traffic mayhem on Twinches Lane and the ‘small’ increase in car movement does not warrant another accessway.
Councillor Roger Davis (Lab: Cippenham Green) dismissed the traffic mayhem claims as “rubbish”, saying a new access way will just compound the problem and the other stores have not called for such a thing.
Supporting the application, councillor Pavitar K. Mann (Lab: Britwell and Northborough), lead member for planning, said she “wasn’t surprised” with the consultation results as residents have been asking for something like this for a while.
She said: “There is a need for this type of retail offer in this location and personally, I believe they’re using an existing retail park which already has the infrastructure built in there.
“It’s far better than a new build elsewhere within the ward.”
Six councillors voted for, one against, and one abstention.
In another application, yet to be determined, Lidl wants to reduce the floorspace to 1,880sqm, which is 216sqm less than the existing.