Committee gives green light to “Bradley Stoke Lidl” planning application

Photo of a Poundstretcher store.
How the Poundstretcher store at the Willow Brook Centre looks today.

A discount food store operator – rumoured to be Lidl – has been given permission to extend and move into a unit at Bradley Stoke’s Willow Brook shopping centre, despite concerns over a loss of parking.

Anchor store Tesco and a South Gloucestershire ward councillor objected to the plans by the centre’s owners because it would mean losing a further 55 car park spaces on top of the 80 that went with the recent opening of McDonald’s and Starbucks drive-through restaurants at the site.

But South Gloucestershire councillors heard there would still be enough parking following a drop in retail customers since the pandemic and the rise of online shopping.

Kitchen & Laundry Appliance Care, Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

Planning officers said the proposed extension of the Poundstretcher unit at the end of the shopping terrace was similar to but smaller than a previous scheme that was granted consent on appeal three years ago, so the principle of its use had been established.

Ward councillor Roger Avenin (Conservative, Bradley Stoke South) told the Development Management Committee that the loss of the parking spaces was a “considerable reduction” from what was originally envisaged.

Elevation plan.
Proposed front elevation of the extended retail terrace.

He said:

“Weekend car parking spaces are at a premium and at peak times of the year, such as Easter and Christmas, it’s almost impossible to find a space.”

“I’ve given up, turned around and gone to either Sainsbury’s in Stoke Gifford or The Mall at Cribbs.”

“I’m not sure who this development is for but there is a suggestion it’s for Lidl.”

“We already have a massive supermarket – Tesco – we have Tesco Expresses in the north and south of the town, and in the north we also have Aldi.”

“How many food outlets does Bradley Stoke need, for heaven’s sake?”


Committee member Cllr Colin Hunt (Conservative, Emersons Green) told the meeting on Thursday, 13th April:

“The overriding factor is they already have planning permission for a larger building there which would take up more parking spaces.”

“If we grant this today, we will have control over the conditions.”

A report to councillors said:

“The store would undoubtedly make a positive contribution to the vitality and viability of the town centre.”

“It would increase choice to the consumer and provide competition to the existing uses within the centre, all of which is in the public interest.”

“On balance the scheme is not considered to give rise to unacceptable levels of traffic that would result in an unacceptable impact on highway safety.”

“The scheme would retain appropriate levels of parking provision.”

Advertising image.

It said the development was not strictly compliant with a planning policy that earmarked the site for a retailer selling higher value goods such as TVs, kitchen appliances or sofas rather than weekly groceries.

But this was justified because other vacant units in the terrace remained unoccupied and the number of discount supermarkets had increased in recent years, so there was “unlikely to be a significant resurgence in demand for further non-food retail floorspace in the town centre in the medium to short term”.

“The vitality and viability of the town centre would therefore be best served by the proposed convenience discount food store,” the report added.

Proposed block plan of the extension to a unit in the retail terrace.

More information and related links:

✍️ Article by Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

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