Residents group says new Lidl plans are unwelcome in Wetherby

A resident group has slammed plans to build a new Lidl on the site of a hotel in Wetherby as an “unwelcome matter of concern”.

Better Wetherby said many town centres have experienced “decline with substantial numbers of empty shops” in recent years.

However, they said Wetherby had avoided this issue and remains a “thriving, vibrant place”.

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Lidl has submitted its plan to build a new supermarket with a sales area of 1,392 m2 and a 72-bed care home and 22 one and two-bed extra care apartments, on the site of the Mercure Hotel on Wetherby Road.

Proposed plans for the Mercure Hotel, Wetherby, site.Proposed plans for the Mercure Hotel, Wetherby, site.
Proposed plans for the Mercure Hotel, Wetherby, site.

Better Wetherby said they had been contacted by many people concerned about the plans.

“The town is already well served with many excellent independent shops along with two supermarkets - Morrisons and ALDI – and food stores such as Marks and Spencer, the Co-op and Sainsburys Local”, the group said.

Chair of Better Wetherby, Roger Owen, said: “It is significant that in July 2012, Leeds Planning Authority refused an application by Sainburys to demolish the Mercure Hotel and replace it with a supermarket.

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“So when the leaflet from Lidl arrived in my letterbox, there was a strong feeling of déjà vu.

“The grounds for refusal a decade ago included that it would have a significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of Wetherby town centre, basically that it would have serious and negative consequences for local town centre shops and furthermore it would be harmful to the character and appearance of the adjacent Conservation Area.

“The reasons given for refusal then remain valid today, and I feel, even more so.”

Mr Owen highlighted that since the refusal of the Sainsbury’s application a decade ago, the Leeds City Council Site Allocation Plan (SAP) has been published.

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The SAP identifies sites for housing, employment, retail and green-space to ensure that enough land is available in appropriate locations to meet the growth targets.

The SAP states that this particular site is suitable for older persons housing/independent living if the hotel is to go.

It also highlights the fact that the site affects the setting of the Wetherby Conservation Area and any future development should preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the Conservation Area.

Mr Owen added: “Better Wetherby strongly oppose the Lidl proposal.

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“It is clear to my colleagues and I that the impact of a large new store built at this important gateway to the town, will be considerable, as noted in 2012.

“It will undoubtedly have profound and negative consequences for Wetherby, especially on our excellent local shops.

“The same decision would equally apply if another large supermarket wished to build on this site.

“I encourage local people to respond to Lidl with a clear message that this is the wrong place for a new store.”

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The Better Wetherby Partnership is a consortium of local people from a variety of organisations who contribute to initiatives designed to help make Wetherby and the surrounding villages better for the community of both present and future generations.

A spokesman for Lidl GB said: “We have been looking to bring a Lidl store to Wetherby for some time and are delighted to share these proposals for a new store and much needed care facility within the local community.

“We are excited by the prospect of opening a new store on Wetherby Road and hope that as many people as possible are able to participate in our public consultation.

“We look forward to sharing our plans and receiving feedback from local residents.”

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The new supermarket forms part of the company’s ongoing £1.3bn investment across the country in 2021 and 2022.

The proposals can be viewed on and anyone who would like to discuss the proposals can call 0800 089 0361 or email [email protected].

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