Council officers advise against new Aldi plans

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Plans for a new Aldi store in Hampden Park have been recommended for refusal by the town’s planning officers.

The cut-price supermarket chain submitted a planning application to Eastbourne Borough Council early in the summer to open a branch on the former Cosmetica site in Faraday Close.

Despite vociferous support from local residents, the town’s planning officers have rejected the proposal ahead of a meeting of the council’s planning committee on Tuesday (November 25) at 6pm.

The land is included in a policy that states it is currently allocated for light industrial use and not for retail.

In the planning officer’s report, it states, “As the country in general and Eastbourne in particular emerge from recession, the council’s position is that there will be growing demand within the Eastbourne Core Strategy Local Plan period for employment land.

“The council accept the views of the applicant in that in its current state the existing former Cosmetica building is redundant and not fit for modern employment purposes. It is, therefore, unlikely that the building will be reoccupied. However given the scarcity of the employment land within the borough it is considered that sites like the application should be retained to support the anticipated future growth in commercial or industrial uses during the plan period.”

By opening a 1,250 square metre store as proposed, Aldi would create between 30 and 40 jobs for local residents.

The site, which has been unused since 2009, is on the council’s ‘Difficult Properties Register’, which identifies buildings that have been vacant for some time, are in disrepair and where action is required in order to bring them back into beneficial use.

Aldi property director Roland Stanley said, “Obviously we are extremely disappointed with the recommendation that our multi-million pound investment in Hampden Park should be rejected.

“We do not agree that planning permission for a development and investment that we are fully committed to, in an area that needs it most, should be refused in order to keep the site zoned for a use that has little, if any, prospects of ever happening. We urge members to grant planning permission to enable this popular proposal to happen without delay.”

The planning committee will make a final decision on whether to give Aldi the green light at their meeting at the Town Hall next week.