Green light to new Lidl store in Bedford

A new Lidl store can open at a former Homebase in Bedford after councillors agreed to change a rule about what can be sold there.

The disused former DIY and garden centre base at the St John’s Centre, off Rope Walk, had been restricted to the sale of ‘bulky items’ and councillors were on Monday asked to approve the change.

An old picture of the site

An old picture of the site

The reason the SREIT Bedford application was being considered by Bedford Borough Council’s Planning Committee was the change of the rule to allow so-called class A1 retail uses.

But councillors at the final Planning Committee meeting before Thursday’s local elections were happy to go along with the recommendation of their officers.

They had told the committee of nine elected members that the applicants had proved that there was no available space for a new Aldi either in the town centre, or in a other areas nearby, making it acceptable.

The plan includes proposals regarding traffic, management, and anti-crime measures.

Cllr Mark Smith, the committee’s vice-chair, said: “I am quite happy for the site to be occupied.”

Now that the green light has been given, shoppers can expect to see some big changes at the centre. They include knocking down the building occupied by Mounter and Turners Carpets to expand the car park. The business plans to relocate.