Lidl defends its plans to demolish Ashfield House in Ashby - saying there is a 'lack of demand' for offices at that site

By Graham Hill

27th Jan 2024 | Local News

An artist's impression of the proposed new Lidl store in Ashby. All images: Lidl
An artist's impression of the proposed new Lidl store in Ashby. All images: Lidl

Lidl has strengthened its claims to build a new supermarket in Ashby by saying 'the loss of employment land is justifiable in this instance'.

The budget store chain has applied for planning permission to demolish the existing Ashfield House building in Revolution Road and construct a supermarket on the land.

But Rapleys, the agent acting for Lidl, has responded to North West Leicestershire District Council questioning if the proposed development meets planning policy requirements.

The council asked Lidl a number of questions regarding:

  • An outstanding need for office floorspace within the District
  • The current existing employment in terms of the amount of floorspace to be lost
  • Is the existing use is relocating and, if they are, where are they relocating to and the reasons for the relocation
  • Has the site been marketed for an office use?
  • A demonstration as to whether the loss of existing employment floorspace would be significant in terms of Ashby De La Zouch and the District.

But Rapleys, in a letter to the council, said: "Whilst the site would lead to a loss of employment land, the proposed foodstore complements the pattern of development within the wider area and creates the equivalent of 40 full time jobs. 

"The site has been actively marketed with a lack of demand for offices in this location. 

"On this basis, we consider that the proposed Lidl foodstore development complies with the criteria - and the loss of 0.9 hectares of employment land to provide the development would be acceptable particularly when factoring into the account the wider retail developments within the vicinity of the site. 

"As a result of this, we consider the loss of employment land is justifiable in this instance."

Rapleys has then issued a detailed response to the council's questions.

It wrote: "The previous owners have sold the building to Lidl, therefore there is currently no employment opportunities generated at the site.

"Unfortunately, our client nor ourselves have any information on the amount of employment positions that the previous owners generated from the site.

"Due to the change in working patterns following COVID, there was no longer a requirement for an office of this size and therefore the previous owners decided that the existing building was no longer fit for purpose - and therefore have moved to more suitable/smaller premises.

"Ashfield Healthcare has subsequently remained in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, relocating to Ceva House in Nottingham Road, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, L

"The site was on the market in January 2022 with marketing commencing in February 2022.

"It was advertised with a brochure and a marketing board. In addition, details were issued to the agency community and also likely potential purchasers were sent details directly, to try to drive enquiries.

"The property was marketed as a vacant possession office building, but it was acknowledged that to the market this may be suitable for alternative uses, subject to planning, noting finding an owner, occupier or an investor for ongoing office use might prove problematic given the layout of Ashfield House - which is difficult to subdivide without significant cost - and similarly, it's a large office building for the Ashby market.

Lidl wants to demolish Ashfield House (pictured) and build a new supermarket on the site. Photo:

"The feedback that was received from a number of investors was that it was just too big a lot size for the Ashby market for them to take the risk on."

But Rapleys goes on to say that the planned Lidl fits in with the surroundings as there are other supermarkets close by.

That has been a criticism from some parties, but Lidl sees it as being in its favour.

The letter adds: "The site has been vacant since late 2021 and as such the site is currently not generating any employment.

"The proposed Lidl foodstore would be compatible with the character and function of the surrounding area, given the recent retail developments within the area including the Aldi and M&S foodstores."


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