Plans for Lincoln’s third Aldi, on the Moorland Centre off Tritton Road, will go before councillors again next week after competitors Asda legally challenged a previous decision to approve it.
City of Lincoln Councillors originally gave the proposals, which will see the supermarket, a drive-thru coffee shop and two further retail centres replace the former Downtown building off Triton Road, the go ahead in January.
However, a report before the planning committee next week said the authority received a legal challenge to the decision by way of a Judicial Review brought by Asda Stores Limited — frustrating the planning process and the start of building work. A result of the judicial challenge has not yet been confirmed.
As part of the review, the chain argue that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was not undertaken and that the previous committee did not refer to the Swanholme Lakes Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Asda has two stores nearby, further down on Tritton Road (Asda Living) and on Newark Road (Asda Superstore), yet their interest in the site next to M&S and Sainsbury’s is unclear at this stage.
The council officer’s report said: “Whilst respectful of the judicial review and not wanting to pre-empt the outcome, the applicant has chosen to re-submit this application for re-consideration to address some of the concerns raised by this challenge.”
The application is almost identical, except new plans to illustrate proposed barriers to the car park and several new reports which include up-to-date data, an archaeological desk based assessment and a biodiversity net gain assessment.
In the report, the officers point to comments by Natural England which say it will not have “significant adverse impacts” on the Swanholme Lakes. They added that an EIA since carried out found it would “not result in significant effects on the environment”.
“The proposed development is of a scale that is unlikely to cause more than local significance and would also not affect the features for which the nearby sensitive area was designated,” said the report.
Recommending approval, city council officers said: “The principle of the uses on this unallocated site is considered to be acceptable and the application has demonstrated that it has met the policy requirements of the sequential and retail impact tests.
“The layout, scale and design of the development is acceptable, complementing the architectural style of the local surroundings.”
Asda along with two local residents have objected to the latest submission, with concerns about the highways impact of the proposals, but also including worries over over-crowding of similar businesses nearby and the impact on lighting.
Asda has been contacted for further comment.