GERMAN supermarket giant Aldi has caused outrage by suggesting planning permission should be granted to expand one of its stores by a third because it only wants ‘a bit’ of the Green Belt.
The store, on Birmingham Road in Studley, is busy with local shoppers and people from Redditch and from as far afield as Evesham.
Their traffic helps contribute to the area by the store breaking guidelines on air pollution.
Now Aldi wants to increase the size of the site – by taking more than a third of an acre out of the village’s Green Belt.
The work involve demolishing two neighbouring houses (both owned by Aldi) to re-position the entrance and expanding the supermarket to the front and side and increasing the size of the car park – into the Green Belt – from 91 parking bays to 123.
Studley Parish Council had already objected to the plans back in April citing loss of Green Belt, increased pollution and danger to pedestrians and other road users and the loss of two family homes.
At the time the then parish Councillor, now district Councillor Neil Edden said: “The use of Green Belt could set a precedent if we allow this sort of thing to happen, as it should only be in ‘exceptional circumstances’ and I do not see this in any way of being exception circumstances.”
Now Aldi has re-submitted the plans to the parish council in which they address the Green Belt issue.
Writing on behalf of the multinational company, Neil Denison, of Turley, a planning and development company says: “The site lies within the West Midlands Green Belt which relates to a total area of 231,291 hectares.
“The development of the proposed site is therefore not significant in this wider context and will ensure the identity and purposes of the wider Green Belt are upheld.”
At a parish council on Tuesday night, Coun Sandra Crofts said: “If every developer used that argument there would be no Green Belt left anywhere – this is pure hokum.”
Councillors reiterated their previous objections and objected to the new application, Coun Paul Beaman saying: “Their justification for building on the Green Belt is totally unacceptable and taking out of all context the size of the site in relation to the village.”
The plans can be viewed here