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Aldi withdraws plan for Great Barr supermarket after criticism over its looks - but readies new one

Supermarket chain Aldi has decided to withdraw an application for a new store in Great Barr after the plans were heavily criticised and set to be rejected.

Aldi withdraws plan for Great Barr supermarket after criticism over its looks - but readies new one

The application for the new supermarket on Old Horns Crescent – next to an existing Asda superstore – had been recommended for refusal by planning officers ahead of coming before Birmingham City Council on August 18.

In his reasons for refusal, council planning officer Wahid Gul said that the 1,140 sq m store was a 'visually poor development' and could have a negative impact on surrounding roads.

Now the retailer has decided to withdraw its application and says it will resubmit amended plans in the coming weeks.

Aldi adds that these will include further clarification and detailed responses to the concerns raised in Mr Gul's report to the planning committee.

An Aldi spokesman said: "Following the recommendation to the planning committee, we have decided that the best way forward would be to withdraw our application, and resubmit in the coming weeks.

"We continue to look forward to opening a new store in Great Barr, and believe we can work through the concerns raised by council officers on the initial application."

Aldi also highlighted that the firm held a public exhibition on the plans back in January this year, and say that after viewing the proposal and providing feedback to the project team, almost 65 per cent of respondents to their consultation were in favour of the plans.

The retailer's spokesman added: "The majority of respondents to our consultation supported the initial plans, specifically highlighting that a new store would improve local shopping choice, and reduce travel times for those who currently leave the area to complete their food shop."

Planning case officer Wahid Gul put forward several reasons why he recommended that Aldi's proposed store and 86-space car park should be refused planning permission.

Mr Gul said: "The proposed development would result in a visually poor development which would appear obtrusive in the street scene by reason of its size, mass and design."

He also raised concerns about the impact the new store would have on traffic at the roundabout between Queslett Road, Aldridge Road and Beacon Road, stating that the applicant's submitted transport assessment 'falls short of critical analysis' and was also missing parts of the required independent road safety audit.

"On this basis, given the omission of such information, the ability to satisfactorily evaluate whether the proposal would have a severe impact on the road network in terms of the freeflow of pedestrians and motorists and also on their safety is not possible," said Mr Gul.

In addition, he highlighted the close proximity of the Queslett Nature Reserve, which is a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC).

In its Section 106 contribution, the applicant offered to provide log seating, information boards, hedgehog habitats, bins, and a new path lake and bat boxes.

However Mr Gul said: "No costing of the off-site compensation offered has been provided and the measures proposed will not achieve the necessary ecological benefits for the adjoining nature reserve."

The applicants were also criticised for not providing enough information on drainage and its maintenance at the site, preventing an accurate flood risk assessment from taking place.

Aldi says that if residents would like further information regarding the store they can call the Freephone project information line on 0800 298 7040.

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