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VOTE NOW: New Aldi store for Driffield gets the go-ahead – is it a good idea?

Councillors have given the green light for a new Aldi supermarket and car park in Driffield after they voted unanimously in favour of the application.

Members of the Planning Committee, which met on Thursday 27th April, gave their full backing to the application from Aldi to build a new food store and customer car park on the former Cattle Market site in Driffield.

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At the same meeting, they also approved a separate application by Gatsby Group Ltd for the construction of a new free public car park to replace the Eastgate car park.

This application involves the demolition of 12 Exchange Street (the former Wooden House) to allow the construction of new vehicular and pedestrian access to the new car park.

Speaking in favour of the planning application for the new supermarket, Simon Plumb, property director for Aldi, said the discount supermarket chain had been looking for some time to bring a store to Driffield.

He said the application would provide a modern shopping environment on a site which has long been vacant and in need of redevelopment.

During pre-application consultation, he said over 73 per cent of respondents expressed support for the scheme because it gave increased choice and reduced the need for travel, and he added that there was a good level of local enthusiasm for the scheme in the letters of support received during the planning application process.

He said the store would create 40 full time equivalent jobs and said Aldi had worked to implement changes to improve the landscaping of the scheme and is working closely with the local community to keep disruption to a minimum.

The Aldi customer car park will provide 121 spaces, limited to 90 minutes, which alongside the new council-run 105 space free car park, will give the town an additional 92 new spaces.

He added: “We look forward to being a part of the community in Driffield.”

However, despite accepting his desire to see the site developed, Andy Rafter from Rafters greengrocers on Middle Street South in Driffield, said he believed the application would have a detrimental impact on the town centre.

He said he did not believe there had been sufficient consultation and said the application is just a short distance from a newly-refurbished Lidl and the town centre Tesco store.

He said he believed the transport assessment to be flawed and added there was no up-to-date transport or pedestrian information and that access was causing anxiety locally.

He highlighted that Driffield town centre has recorded an increase in footfall in recent months and has a high percent of independent shops giving shoppers in Driffield lots of choice, but expressed his fears that this application could lead to less choice as shops scale back or close as they have done in other towns dominated by supermarkets.

He said to the councillors: “I hope you will be brave and bold with this decision and give Driffield the chance to thrive and break the mould and continue in its good work.”

Despite the concerns raised by Mr Rafter, councillors did not feel the application would damage the town and said it would give further choice to shoppers in Driffield.

Although some councillors questioned if the parking limit of 90 minutes could be extended, it was felt that the independent shops have a different offering and could successfully co-exist with the Aldi supermarket and all 12 councillors gave the application their support.

The application for the free 105-space council-owned car park was also backed by all the councillors with the condition that a scheme of interpretation reflecting the importance of the chalk beck be added, alongside additional landscaping.

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