Plans for a Lidl store at Monks Cross have been approved despite concerns it will result in an increase in the number of car journeys in the area.
The budget supermarket chain will move into the former TX Maxx after the clothing store moved to another unit in the shopping centre.
It will include a bakery, longer tills and customers toilets, as well as 131 parking spaces and 20 cycle parking spaces.
The wider site will also include a separate drive-thru restaurant, though the operator has not been named.
Lidl’s application said the development was expected to generate 260 vehicle trips during the weekday evening period and 421 vehicle trips during the Saturday midday peak period.
Cllr Jonny Crawshaw said he expected this to be more journeys than TX Maxx generated as people shopped more frequently for food than clothes.
According to the planning documents: “These vehicle trips are not all new to the network and will be linked with other retail uses in the wider Monks Cross area or will be passing by the site as part of another journey.”
DPP Planning’s Michelle Davies, speaking for Lidl, added: “When we’ve done a household survey and looked at where people are shopping now in that area, they’re nearly all shopping at Aldi and Sainbuys’s. So they’re already going there, they’re just going to divert slightly to Lidl.”
Sainsbury’s, which has a store next door on Monks Cross, objected to the application, saying there was no need for another foodstore in the area and that Lidl would negatively impact smaller retailers, but council officers said it would not significantly affect the “vitality and viability” of the surrounding area.
There are already several major supermarkets in and around Monks Cross.
Cllr Crawshaw said: “It does concern me that this will, I think, generate additional car trips. And there’s an issue potentially about the wider network in terms of capacity.”
Cllr Denise Craghill added: “It is still a shame that at the moment, this is clearly still a car-based development and it’s based on attracting people from all over the place when we should probably be looking at areas like Monks Cross becoming more like local or district centres.
“We should be looking at far more reductions in travel by car and more local journeys.”
But Cllr Keith Orrell said: “I think the concern about increased traffic is perhaps misplaced. I think it will be moving from one supermarket to another, rather than getting more people travelling to Monks Cross.”
Existing trees along Monks Cross Drive will be retained and new trees will be planted in the car park.