Uncertainty over future of Knaresborough Chain Lane former Co-operative site
Company heads at Lidl have said they are committed to delivering a new store in Knaresborough after their application to build on Chain Lane was refused.
The global supermarket giant applied for planning permission to build a new, larger concept store for the town on the former Co-operative site in March last year.
But after residents on neighbouring roads and the Town Council raised issue with the scale and 'concept' design of the store, the application was refused at planning committee.
Lidl UK’s Regional Head of Property, Graham Burr, commented: “Whilst we are disappointed that Harrogate Borough Council’s Planning Committee has refused our application for a new Lidl store in Knaresborough, despite the officer’s recommendation to approve, we remain committed to bringing an improved store to Knaresborough.
"The Lidl of the Future store would improve the shopping experience for customers and enhance facilities for our employees as well as creating more jobs for the local community.
"There were over 250 letters of support on the planning file and over 100 people had signed an online petition for the proposals and I would like to thank those who took the time and supported the planning application. We will now take some time and consider our options.”
The site was also subject to an application by Boots to set up a temporary pharmacy pod until a more permanent solution could be reached with the new landowners, Lidl.
However the application was also refused on the grounds that it could cause interference with traffic on Chain Lane and it did not provide adequate parking to its potential customers.
Alongside the Co-op there had been a longstanding Boots pharmacy and post office on the site, but since the post office closed at the end of last year, the site has been vacant.
Knaresborough ward councillor for the area, Christine Willoughby said that the refused applications had cast uncertainty among residents about what will happen with the site.
Councillor Willoughby, Knaresborough East, (Lib), said: "We have quite a substantial elderly population and it was so convenient down there at the Co-op, it was a short walk and parking was simple.
"I think a lot of people in the area are saddened they lost the Co-op and the pharmacy and the post office which were all well used and there's uncertainty about what Lidl are doing, if they will go back to the drawing board and come back with a different plan.
"I think a lot of people who don't have to live next door to it were happy with what they wanted to do but the people in the area were against the height and the overlooking aspects of what Lidl wanted to build on there.
"The problem we had as councillors was the concept store they wanted to build on there and they didn't want to make any changes to make it fit in better with Knaresborough - it was very very tall and they were going to have to build the land up.
However despite concerns from nearby residents about the design of the building, a new Lidl store was generally well supported in the town and Coun Willoughby said she did not oppose a new store on the site.
She said: "I'd like to see Lidl build their new store but I think they need to look again at the plans they put in."