Knaresborough residents' fear over Lidl 'monstrosity'
Knaresborough residents have voiced concern over supermarket giant Lidl's proposals to build a two-storeyÂ development on Chain Lane.
Margaret Higgins, who lives on Cotterdale Close - next to the site of the proposed development - has expressed her ‘grave concern’ at the global chain’s proposal to build a mega-store on the old Co-operative site.
Documents announcing the proposals were posted to residents in January, but, despite much opposition, the company has now submitted a planning application.
Ms Higgins, who has lived on Cotterdale Close since 1985, is terrified by the proposals of the development, which will back right up next to her house.
Ms Higgins said: “It would not fit into this area at all. I don’t understand the thinking behind it.
“People have been here for 30 or 40 years and we don’t have a choice to just leave, our properties are going to be devalued with this monstrosity of a building.”
The proposal is to build a two-storey, 1,690 sq m foodstore with more than 150 parking spaces.
But in order to construct the store on flat land, the company has said the site will need to be raised in places.
As a result, residents are fearful that the sheer scale of the building will tower above their houses as one great industrial block.
Ms Higgins said: “It’s going to be taller than the houses here, it’s going to be a complete block of rendered concrete industrial unit. I don’t think some people realise the size this building is going to be.
Ms Higgins said the development is so tall that some residents “will be sat in their conservatories watching people pushing their trolleys.”
“It’s not just that there is going to be deliveries at the back of us, there are going to be compressors right next to my fence,” she continued.
“These are absolutely huge things, they run the air conditioning and fridge freezers for the building. The noise level that comes with them is just unbelievable.
“Another concern is Chain Lane. They are considering moving the access road into the site closer to the traffic lights on York Road.
“It’s mayhem there on a morning. It will be an accident waiting to happen.”
The company already has a store in Knaresborough on York Road but has said the site is too small.
James Hanna of Lidl UK said: “The existing Lidl store on York Road is very popular, but is now too small to be able to meet the growing needs of our customers.
“The former Co-op site presents an opportunity to deliver a new store, built to the latest high quality specification with improved car parking and generally provide a better shopping experience for customers.
“We have had a positive response from the community to our proposals with almost 70 per cent of those who responded in support of the proposals. We appreciate that this represents a change for those living closest to the site.
“The building and site layout has been designed with neighbouring residents in mind, and this includes introducing new measures to mitigate noise and visual impacts.”
But ward councillor Christine Willoughby (Lib), has supported the concerns saying the proposed development is not suitable to the area.
She said: “It’s the wrong building for that site, I have nothing against Lidl and I’m pleased they want to do something for Knaresborough but this is not the right building.
“You have to bear in mind this is a predominantly residential area.”
If planning permission is granted the company said the new store will open in 2017.
The current site would trade until the new store opens, all staff would be transferred, with 20 new roles created.