In September last year, councillors voted to refuse ML Retail’s plans that could have brought up to 98 full-time jobs and a new Lidl to an empty grassy area on Low Lane, near where the road crosses the A174. Now, the developer has lodged an appeal with the planning inspectorate to attempt to change the decision. It’s not known when a decision will be made.
The scheme is for nine new units, including a drive-thru and a variety store that could be a Home Bargains or B&M. It took Middlesbrough Council’s planning committee an hour to decide it didn’t want the plans to move forward.
The two key concerns raised were about access and the development’s impact on other nearby shopping centres. The council’s planning department is worried that the project will have a negative impact on the planned investment in the Coulby Newham District Centre, which includes the Parkway Centre, and the shops set out as part of the Stainsby Country Park masterplan.
At the September meeting, property company Savills’ Brad Wiseman, on behalf of the developer, said he did not believe the area around the Parkway Centre could reasonably adopt ML Retail’s proposals.
A number of councillors were vocal about their opposition due to potential traffic issues. Independent Cllr Joan McTigue said: “It’s entirely in the wrong place. The traffic is a nightmare it’s only going to make that absolutely horrendous. The drive-thru is too close to the main road.”
Middlesbrough Independent Group councillor Carolyn Dodds, who represents Trimdon ward where the development is proposed, was also against the proposals. She said: “I do think the transport situation would be diabolical. The people in the new builds want somewhere they can walk to the shops.”
Mr Wiseman claimed the council was sent more information on August 11 about contributions for highways mitigation schemes and sustainable transport infrastructure which he did not feel were reflected in the council’s report. However, Mr Clarke believes the council report was accurate and robust enough.
Since the planning meeting, Lidl has secured an alcohol licence for the site from the council despite fears it could bring yobs and mayhem to the area. If the developer overturns the council decision and the scheme goes ahead, the supermarket will be allowed to sell booze at the store between 7am and 11pm daily.
It will need to follow certain conditions, including keeping a refusals log and a ban on high-strength beer and cider. During the licensing hearing, Amanda Pillinger, representing Lidl, said there was no evidence to suggest the new store would result in an increase in anti-social behaviour before adding that the chain was very experienced at running premises in areas where there are problem street drinkers, thefts and anti-social behaviour.