Plans by an international supermarket chain to establish a new branch in Knaresborough have been approved after close to a two-year effort.
Lidl has received approval for the site on Chain Lane at Planning Committee on Tuesday, September 26, it has been the subject of applications by the company since 2015 when the Co-Op closed it's doors in November that year.
The current application, submitted in March this year, was however been flagged due to the potential impact on nearby residents. Because of this Lidl will be required to put measures in place, including a 2.4m high acoustic fence to address the potential noise generated by deliveries.
Although calling the decision a compromise Knaresborough Town Councillor Andrew Willoughby said the move was necessary for the town.
Coun Willoughby said: "I think we have reached a satisfactory conclusion, but it is a compromise.
"This has taken a long time and that's not good but it was a difficult decision and will affect the residents nearby. However the town needs this and a the choice was all about balance.
"For now we need to focus on the positive, while we didn't want them to rush the developers can now get on with it."
More than 100 written comments have been submitted on the plans, with support swinging behind the Lidl store being granted approval, with 83 supporting to 23 opposing.
Among the arguments in favour of the store were concerns over the lack of a larger supermarket in Knaresborough and people flagging they find it difficult to travel for their shopping due to the cost and having mobility issues,
Emma Beeken wrote: "This town is desperately lacking in a decent sized food supermarket. I shop mostly at the current Lidl and sometimes find it struggling to cope with amount of people wanting to use the store- surely that is indication itself that it is needed. There are hundreds if not thousands of people in this town who for any number of reasons cannot regularly get up to Harrogate to do a reasonably priced food shop. I am astonished that this has been allowed to continue for this long."
Concerned residents from The Paddock did highlight they have been approached by Lidl, offering them the opportunity to highlight concerns they have through the development.
Catherine Tinkler said: "We are relieved that Lidl finally recognised the potentially negative impact of raising the ground levels and creating a hugely imposing building outside our backdoors.
She added:"We were so glad that Lidl also promised to plant mature trees along the border and retain the existing ones, which haven't already been killed."
Giving thanks for their support over Lidl will now continue moving forward with the site.
Graham Burr, Lidl’s Regional Head of Property said: “We are delighted that Harrogate Borough Council’s Planning Committee have given the go ahead for our new store proposals in Knaresborough.
“The new store will enable us to enhance the shopping and welfare facilities for both customers and employees, whilst positively impacting the local economy with new jobs.
“I would like to take the opportunity to thank the local community for their continued support over the past months. We will now look to bring the project forward as soon as possible.”