A FORMER computer and electrical shop could be transformed into a popular discount food store after plans were filed at Town Hall.

Food giant Lidl is seeking permission from the authority to redevelop a derelict unit previously occupied by PC World at 750, Chester Road, Stretford.

Lidl's regeneration plans for the former PC World site on Chester Road would create 40 new jobs for local residents.

Nick Harvey, Head of Property at Lidl UK said:
“Our £2.5m regeneration scheme will deliver significant benefits for Stretford.

"The plans will benefit local residents with greater shopping choice and job opportunities, as well as boosting the local economy and increasing shopping footfall in the local area.

"I hope that the committee members support our plans, which are backed by council officers and the local community”.

However, Cllr Stephen Adshead, portfolio holder for environment and air quality, has objected to the scheme.

In a letter he wrote: “Another out of town food retail store is not needed in this area.

“The recent granting of permissions for food retail on White City  – a side issue of this is traffic congestion that has been created to the detriment of the retail park users – together with the Tesco superstore, has recently resulted in the company pulling out of Stretford Mall and this has affected residents ability to shop locally.

“This proposal will not help with any regeneration of the town centre and is likely to have the opposite effect.”

Lunar Stretford Sarl (LSS), the owners of Stretford Mall shopping centre, argued the store would ‘harm’ the economy and investment prospects of the town centre.

In an objection letter the company wrote: “The owners of Stretford Mall are examining the possibility of making substantial investments to the shopping centre to help regenerate and aid the vitality and attractiveness of the centre.

“The reduction in footfall and trade from the introduction of a new out of centre food retailer is likely to have adverse impacts on the viability of the planned investment.

“It is also likely to impact on the council’s own improvement initiatives for the town centre.”

Some residents have also objected and claim the development would cause parking issues in the local area. 

In addition, they fear the development would result in significant traffic congestion and pollution on Ravenswood Road.

But there has been a strong level of local support to the plans (over 50 letters of support from members of the local community have been submitted). 

They claim that 95% of responders to their public consultation in September 2017 supported the principal of the development.

One vocal supporter is Cllr Mike Cordingley, portfolio holder for finance and one of the local ward members for the site, who has also lent his support to the plans.

Cllr Mike Cordingley said: “I am fully supportive of the plans for a new Lidl store in Stretford and I know that many local residents will be happy to see the former PC World site regenerated and brought back into use.

"The plans will bring more jobs to the local area and I’m looking forward to Lidl being part of our amazing local community”.

“It is not considered that the store will greatly increase traffic, most will be passing trade and experience with the Tesco store opposite suggests that the impact will not be as great as the worst predictions.”

Plans for the new food outlet include extending part of the building to provide a service ramp, additional storage and 119 car parking spaces.

Planning officers have recommended the scheme be approved.

The application is scheduled for discussion at planning committee on June 14.