Ashby councillor Zamani calls for 'undemocratic' Lidl supermarket meeting to be deferred

By Graham Hill

9th Jul 2024 | Local News

Ashfield House on Resolution Road in Ashby would be demolished to make way for the Lidl store. Photo: Ashby Nub News
Ashfield House on Resolution Road in Ashby would be demolished to make way for the Lidl store. Photo: Ashby Nub News

An Ashby councillor has called for the meeting to decide on the planned new Lidl supermarket to be deferred again - claiming the process has been 'undemocratic'.

North West Leicestershire District Council's planning committee will be advised to grant permission for the proposed store which would be built on Resolution Road, close to the junction with Nottingham Road.

The meeting is scheduled for tomorrow night (Wednesday) after it was deferred from June so that new information could be gathered.

But Cllr Pejman Zamani says Ashby de la Zouch Town Council had not been consulted ahead of that meeting.

The agenda says that Lidl would not be making a financial contribution to the local community - called a 106 agreement - as there is no scheme in place to provide funds for.

Now, it is has been claimed that Ashby Town Council has been asked by the District Council to suggest something the money could be used for - less than 48 hours ahead of the meeting.

Cllr Pejman is understood to want to ensure that Ashby receives adequate funding if Lidl's planning application is granted.

An artist's impression of how the new Ashby Lidl would look. Image: Lidl

Another Ashby councillor, Murrae Blair-Park, says that he has already been told he will not be able to speak at the meeting - despite having additional information on the extra footfall a new Lidl would bring to an area already served by a number of similar stores.

Cllr Zamani spoke at last month's meeting, representing Ashby Town Council, which had raised concerns about Lidl's arrival and the demolition of the Ashfield House office site as a result.

In a letter seen by Ashby Nub News to the planning committee chair, Cllr Russell Boam, Cllr Zamani says details should have been supplied to Ashby Town Council's planning committee - which took place on Monday - in order for them to discuss the new information. 

Cllr Zamani says that, as a Money Hill Ward Councillor, he has not seen any of this information nor had any opportunity to discuss the information with the Town Council. 

He adds that he feels 'strongly' that the District Council should defer the meeting so that the Town Council can be fully appraised of the situation. 

Cllr Zamani says that, failure to do this, would be undemocratic.

When he spoke to committee members last month, he said: "I am authorised to object on behalf of Ashby Town Council.

"As you are aware, there are five major grounds for objection and they are as follows

• Highway issues

• Amenity of neighbours.

• Inappropriate change of use

• Fear to comply with local plan policy

• Neighbourhood plan policy.

"This application does not meet the criteria set out in the neighbourhood plan as it will have a significant and devastating impact on the football into the town centre which has been estimated by the applicant themselves to be the detriment of at least £1million of annual income to the town.

"In the event that permission is granted, against the wishes of the Town Council, I would wish to draw attention to the following. The Town Council requires the planning authority to ensure in the 106 agreement that a financial contribution towards town centre improvements is given to sustain and encourage footfall into the town centre.

"The precedent for this request is clear in that a contribution from Aldi and Tesco in the sum of £50,000, or thereabouts, was obtained through the respective 106 agreements.

"The actual amount that has to be contributed should be assessed on current costs of the necessary improvements."

Ken Ward, Chairman of Ashby Civic Society, said: "The democratic nature of this application should be considered at all stages."

     

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