New Hucknall Lidl moves a huge step closer

A giant step has been taken towards Lidl opening a new supermarket in Hucknall – a project that will also bring to an end the long-running saga of Hucknall Town Football Club finally moving to a new ground.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 8:40 pm

On Wednesday, members of Ashfield District Council’s planning committee gave their unanimous backing for the project, which would see the German retail chain build a store on the site of the football club’s current Watnall Road ground.

In turn this would pave the way for The Yellows to take up residence at their new home across the road off Aerial Way – a move that has been in the offing for more than 15 years.

There are still some behind-the-scenes negotiations to be thrashed out around traffic pinch-points and financial contributions from Lidl for town-centre improvements before the project can be completely rubberstamped for the go-ahead.

The new store will be built on the site of the old Hucknall Town FC ground. Photos: Google Earth/Pixabay
The new store will be built on the site of the old Hucknall Town FC ground. Photos: Google Earth/Pixabay

But it is hoped this will not prove a sticking point to the project.

In fact, Coun Kevin Rostance (Con), who represents Hucknall West, and is a member of the planning committee, said after the meeting: "I’m very pleased to see Lidl coming to Hucknall, it’s a good company and it will be good for the residents.”

At the meeting, which was held on Zoom and streamed via YouTube, councillors agreed for the chairman of the committee and officer to work with Lidl on the final negotiations.

If the company agrees to pay more cash – a minimum of £100,000 – along with working to alleviate issues under a traffic regulation order (TRO) then the application can be agreed under ‘delegated powers’, with no need for it to be brought before councillors again.

That would mean the green light for work to start on a store that will create up to 40 new jobs.

If they are unable to agree, the application will once again come before the committee for a decision.

The meeting heard that there had been 80 comments on the application with an overwhelming 69 in support of the project.

A petition from Hucknall Town backing the scheme featured 254 signatures.

There were some objections, most notably from Tesco, amid claims of inadequate assessment of the impact the store would have on town-centre trading.

It was also claimed that alternative sites – including the old Sandicliffe site on Portland Road and the Piggins Croft car park – hadn’t been explored.

However, the mood at the meeting was one in broad favour of the proposal.

Gary Goodall, a Hucknall resident, said: “There’s hundreds of households and hundreds of people who are crying out for a new supermarket and Lidl is the answer.

"And not only will this bring a good new supermarket to the town, it will also create new jobs for the area, which will be much needed after the impact of the pandemic.

A condition of any full planning approval is that work cannot fully start on the site until Hucknall Town FC are moved to their new home.

Speaking to the Dispatch after the decision, Bob Scotney, chairman of the club, said: "We are grateful to all those who showed their support for the Lidl development, which includes the relocation of the football club.

"We hope that things can be concluded very soon, this is very good news.”