Wigan's sixth Lidl store gets the town hall go-ahead

Plans for a new Lidl store in Wigan have given the green light by councillors.

By Joseph Timan
Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 10:36 am
The former Betafence site
The former Betafence site

The sixth store from the budget retailer in the borough will be located at a former industrial estate off Woodhouse Lane, Beech Hill, with access to the new supermarket via Whitworth Way.

The land was last occupied by fencing firm Betafence Ltd, but all its buildings were demolished in 2013 and the site has since been completely cleared.

New houses have been built on the neighbouring site over the last three years despite the land being classed by the council as a ‘Primary Employment Area’.

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Lidl already has five stores in Wigan borough

The close proximity of the new store to neighbouring properties led to some concerns from residents relating to site access, traffic and parking in the area.

But council officers told the planning panel that the supermarket chain has designed a ‘bespoke’ store for this site which is slightly smaller than standard.

Brickwork and glazing will replace some of the grey cladding seen in most stores and nine large trees will be planted along the boundary of the building.

Speaking on behalf of the supermarket, Jonathan Harper of Rapleys LLP said the company has ‘worked hard’ with the council to bring forward a proposal which will ‘contribute positively’ to the surrounding area and ‘enhance’ the site.

Whitworth Way's junction with Woodhouse Lane

He said: “The proposals will result in this vacant brownfield site being brought back into beneficial use to provide a positive contribution to the surrounding area.

“It will result in clear improvements to visual appearance of the surrounding area through the delivery of an attractive, sustainable and model facility, high quality design and landscaping.”

The equivalent of 40 full-time jobs would be created once the new store is open and local people are expected to benefit from training opportunities.

The local authority received 21 objections to the proposal from local residents and 53 representations of support, most of which were from ‘further afield’.

Atherton councillor Stuart Gerrard said the majority of objectors supported the development, but raised concerns about the arrangements for access.

However, highways officer Kenny Strode said creating an entrance and exit on a main road such as Woodhouse Lane would increase the chance of accidents.

A total of 80 parking spaces will be created on site including two electric vehicle charging points and there will be 12 bicycle parking spaces available.

The car park will also be ‘futureproofed’ to enable more electric vehicle charging points to be installed in the future, according to council planners.

A traffic regulation order establishing parking restrictions along Whitworth Way using double yellow lines will also be funded as part of the development.

Leigh East councillor Fred Walker praised planning officers for their efforts.

He said: “I think we’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to protect these residents who knew that was industrial land and it would have some infrastructure.

“At the end of the day it was always going to be developed.”

The planning panel approved Lidl’s application on Tuesday.

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