Lidl superstore in Kempston WILL be built

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Furious Kempston families have slammed the council for allowing a massive Lidl superstore to be built in the busiest part of town.

The 2,800 sq metre building - right opposite a lower school – will be one of the biggest Lidl stores in the country.

Planning committee councillors granted the controversial application for Ridge Road on Monday night.

Lidl already have a store a mile away in Manor Drive, and dozens of householders had sent letters and signed a petition objecting to the new site.

They say the new building will be an eyesore and cause traffic chaos on a road that is already congested during school run times. They also say it is against the Masterplan for the area.

“We are gutted,” said residents’ spokesman Phil Cutland Green.

“The community of Kempston feels let down. People in Orchid Fields and The Woodlands were told when they bought their homes that there would be a ‘local convenience shop’ on this site.

“This is not a convenience shop – it’s a giant superstore.”

Residents are concerned that the proposed 10pm closure time will be disruptive. They also fear the new store will cause a drop in trade for Bedford town centre.

Councillors had deferred their decision of the application last month in order to make a site visit.

But residents say they visited when one of the schools in town had an inset day – which caused traffic to be unnaturally quiet.

Council officers, however, believe the new store will not be disruptive at all.

Their report stated: “The proposed development is of a satisfactory scale which will not cause harm to the vitality and viability of Kempston.”

It adds: “The use of sympathetic external materials will ensure that it will not appear discordant having regard to the emerging character of the local area.”

The council will now receive a hefty Community Infrastructure Levy payment for granting the application.

Meanwhile Lidl bosses have made a promise that appropriate parking will be available for school drop-off and pick-up .

The company’s UK’s regional head of property Jeremy Lee, said: “I am confident that these new plans will alleviate any concerns.”

He said the new store would mark a multi-million pound investment in area and creation of up to 40 new jobs.