Shaftesbury Mayor doesn’t want the town’s new Lidl store to resemble the supermarket’s Blandford outlet.
Speaking at last night’s town meeting, Piers Brown told residents that the Blandford store was ‘a big tin shed’.
A member of the public asked whether there was progress in Lidl’s development of the former Cattle Market site. Piers said that it was up to the site owner to apply for planning consent but he expected activity ‘sooner rather than later’.
He told ThisIsAlfred that he has clear views about how the new store should be designed. “The site needs to be in-keeping with our surroundings. Our in-keeping will be different to Blandfold so, from my personal point of view, I would like to see the building covered in brick because it is going to be on the gateway as people travel into the town,” said Piers. “We are an historic market town and that is part of our offer. I’d like to see the trees along there retained because it’s part of that atmosphere. We also need to look at how we develop good road access to that site so that it won’t snarl up Christy’s Lane completely.”
Piers says he would prefer it if the Lild supermarket is accessed off the Tesco approach road but added, “I have a feeling that Tesco would say no to that because they are not going to help out a competitor.”
So how much ‘clout’ does the Town Council have when North Dorset District Council is the Planning Authority? “As a Town Council we have tried to take a more proactive approach over the last couple of years and to engage with developers before they put a planning application in,” explained Piers. “Some developers have welcomed that, some have not. We don’t have any legal might but we can push, massage and encourage developers to try and put together schemes which don’t have some of the negatives that have happened in the past. We want them to complement the town and the town’s vision for the future.”