PLANS FOR ELVETHAM HEATH STORE
Following on from the recent opening of the Aldi store in Fleet Hampshire there have been ongoing talks about opening a Lidl branch on the former park and ride land at Elvetham Heath. The plans, which are being welcomed with open arms by some, are also seeing a number of naysayers. Community Campaign Hart Councillor Angela Delaney has come out firmly against the scheme, quoting concerns about litter “thrown out of car windows”, traffic congestion and pollution. On the flip side of the coin however, some residents feel that the competition with the nearby Morrisons store and discounted prices, would benefit the local population, especially with the current cost of living crisis.
It isn’t the first time Lidl has shown an interest in the area, with previous plans refused in 2020 that included three buildings; a supermarket, a drive-through coffee shop and a gym. This time the potential new build, which would be located opposite The De Havilland Arms pub, is limited to just the supermarket as well as a drive-through restaurant, offering something a bit different for the area. It would also feature longer style tills with dual packing, customer toilets and a bakery – something that was missed out of the new Aldi store.
Below: Plans for the new look Lidl in Fleet Hampshire.
Conservative Councillor Steve Forster commented:
I’d very much like to see this land properly used. It’s an area that could readily be developed. It is currently zoned for development, but I feel there is an opportunity to use or acquire it for some affordable housing or for community use.
A previous supermarket application plan was rejected, so we’ll now need to wait to see if this application proceeds – or what replaces it.
Hart District Council previously agreed to an expansion of Morrisons as well as an Aldi in Church Crookham, so it’s interesting that Lidl feel there’s enough demand here for another supermarket. I do have concerns over extra traffic, noise and disruption – although any use will see more traffic. So the question is what use is most appropriate.
I’m not in favour of a drive through as initially proposed, based on what I’ve seen so far, but I’d like to see a Lidl in the Fleet area, giving more choice and increasing affordability’
Concerns about traffic congestion in the area have been addressed by developers in the new plans by introducing a new access point off Elvetham Way. Other features that have been designed to make the store fit in naturally with the local area include a sloping green roof so it blends into the woodland background.
Below: Designs for a new access way to prevent traffic congestion.
The new store would create up to 40 new and part time jobs for local people and would certainly offer some competition for the local branch of Morrisons, which has been subject to complaints of stock issues over the past few years.
Local residents have already received a leaflet earlier this month, encouraging them to share their thoughts on the subject. The consultation runs from 14th March – 8th April online. There is also an exhibition at the Church on the Heath on the 29th March between 2pm – 8pm. You can view the website with full plans here.
So what do you think about the potential new store? If nothing else, surely it’s better to see new shops in Fleet rather than just more houses and flats. A drive through restaurant could have huge appeal and with the new Aldi proving a big hit, it looks as though the timing could be right for Lidl to finally make the move to Fleet.
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