Lidl switches attention to bus depot as possible site for store

February 23 2018

BUDGET supermarket Lidl has put forward a planning application to for a store on the derelict bus depot on Muller Road in Horfield.


mullerroad

by Keri Beckingham

 BUDGET supermarket Lidl has put forward a planning application to for a store on the derelict bus depot on Muller Road in Horfield.

As previously reported in Bishopston Voice, Lidl launched its plans to build a new supermarket on the site of the old Brunel Ford garage on Muller Road in 2014. 

However, although it was granted permission in 2016, building work did not progress due to the size of the site, which limited the amount of floor space for the store and the number of parking spaces that would be available. As a result, Lidl has decided to submit another application to Bristol City Council for  the neighbouring bus depot land - which has been derelict since 2010 -  instead, stating that the new site would allow for a bigger store and more space for customer parking.

Within its plans, Lidl has stated that the new store will cover a 2,206 square metre site with a sales area of 1,325 square metres. It will also include 158 car parking spaces, including 10 disabled and eight parent and child spaces and space available for cycle parking at the front of the store. The proposed opening hours will be 8am to 10pm Monday to Saturday (including Bank Holidays), and 10am to 4pm or 11am to 5pm on Sunday. 

In conjunction with the planning application 17/05939/F submitted to the council, Lidl has created a website to give residents more information, and has also launched an online petition to try and drum up local support for its plans. At the time of writing, 1,513 signatures have been collected by the petition, with residents commenting that the budget supermarket is something that is much needed in Horfield, that it would provide a welcome alternative to Tesco (which has two stores in the area), and that local people would be able to walk to the store rather than having to drive there. However, some residents have also raised concerns about the increase in traffic along Muller Road, a route that is already congested at peak times,  if the budget supermarket goes ahead,  

Commenting on Lidl’s planning application, Tom Brook, Labour Councillor for Bishopston and Ashley Down said: “There is a dire need in this area, especially in Lockleaze, for reasonably priced and easily accessible food stores, so having a Lidl here would be of great benefit to residents, especially those who find it too far to travel to existing shopping locations. 

“I appreciate that there are some downsides, namely regarding the impact on traffic, but I think that a number of these can be mitigated or eliminated through careful planning and conditions imposed by the council on the site permission, should it be granted.”

The Bishopston Society, an active residents' group founded in 2002 with a focus on local planning, licensing and environmental issues, are keen to see certain conditions met before planning permission is granted. 

They would like the Brunel Ford site redeveloped for residential use to minimise additional traffic and enhance the appearance and character of Muller Road facing on to the green, cycle facilities at the store to be increased, as well as Lidl ensuring that lorry deliveries to the store are not permitted during rush hour periods or at anti-social times. In addition, they would also like to see traffic lights installed at the bottom of Ralph Road to make it easier to pull out on to Muller Road and to regulate the traffic access in and out of the store car park.

Spokesman Neil Embleton said: “The Bishopston Society accepts that there is a need for an affordable food store on Muller Road, particularly for the Lockleaze area which is currently poorly served.  However, there is strong concern that the new store will aggravate the existing traffic congestion and air pollution along Muller Road, particularly at the junction with Ralph Road, which will inevitably be worsened by the anticipated enlargement of the Bristol Rovers ground.  

“On balance, we would be happy to see planning permission granted for the new store with certain conditions in place.”

Speaking on behalf of Friends of the Memorial Ground (FOMG), Jamie Carstairs said: “The site in question is not a war memorial, unlike the Memorial Stadium, so FOMG do not object to this redevelopment for that reason.  

“However, nearby residents are likely to experience increased traffic and air pollution.  Do we really need yet another supermarket in the area?” 

To find out more about Lidl’s planning application and to sign their petition, visit http://www.horfield.lidl.co.uk/