Plans to build a new Lidl supermarket at Monks Cross in York have been criticised by the Sainsbury’s store next door.
As revealed in YorkMix in April, Lidl wants to open a 15,600 sq ft store on the former TK Maxx site at the shopping centre.
It plans to partly demolish and partly reconfigure the existing TK Maxx building, empty since March 2020, and build a standalone drive thru restaurant operated by a separate brand.
It would create 40 jobs, include 176 parking spaces and in-store facilities including a bakery, longer style tills with dual packing and customer toilets.
But the plans have drawn criticism from Steve Topham, the branch manager of Sainsbury’s at Monks Cross.
He has submitted a letter objecting to the Lidl proposal.
“The Sainsbury’s store first opened in 1991 and it is a key employer in York, as well as a vital foodstore that serves the local community,” he writes.
“As such, we have a strong interest in any new development that comes forward in York. We have reviewed the above planning application and we have significant concerns regarding the proposal.”
Puts retailers ‘at risk’
Among his objections is “the lack of a need for a further foodstore at Monks Cross, given that the area is already well served by existing stores”.
He writes: “A further foodstore at Monks Cross is likely to put existing smaller retailers in nearby centres at risk, threatening the viability and vitality of these centres at a time when councils should be supporting existing businesses and the high street.
“There is already a Lidl store only circa 3.7km to the southwest of the site at Foss Island Retail Park so there is already the opportunity to shop at Lidl.”
He also says that Lidl hasn’t carried out “sequential tests” demonstrating there are no more suitable sites for the store and drive thru.
They have discounted other sites, including the empty store at the Coppergate Centre “on the basis that it is not large enough and does not include surface level car parking, however, the floor area is large enough to accommodate the proposed Lidl and the site is near the Piccadilly multi-storey car park which includes 300 parking spaces.”
Lidl have also disregarded both the York Central and Castle Gateway developments, he says.
Another objection has come in from R Black. They say the plans go against City of York Council’s climate strategy.
They write: “I dispute the proposed outlets will create many new jobs.
“The Taco Bell has reduced its hours and workers report shortages of staff as they cannot recruit new colleagues.”
You can read the planning application here.