PLANNING chiefs have given the go-ahead for a new Aldi supermarket to be built in Winsford town centre.

The Dene Drive car park has been closed since August 26 ahead of the new supermarket’s anticipated development on the land.

Now, Cheshire West and Chester Council officers have given the green light for work on the 10,189sq m supermarket to begin.

In a report recommending the plans for approval, officer Steven Holmes said the project would ‘promote the sustainable regeneration of the town centre’ and is ‘likely to fuel economic growth’.

Winsford Town Council had not objected to the scheme, although it does not quite meet the aims of the town’s neighbourhood plan, which was adopted at referendum six years ago.

In the report, Mr Holmes said: “The development would not foster a strong, positive relationship with other allocated sites within the town centre.

“In this sense, the site would be somewhat physically and functionally separate from the rest of the shopping area.”

However, because there is currently no masterplan in place for Winsford’s regeneration, Mr Holmes said it was ‘difficult to conclude decisively’ that the new Aldi would not fit in the town centre – meaning the plans had to be approved.

CWAC had previously sold the Dene Drive car park land to Aldi for £4.1 million, with that cash expected to go towards Winsford’s regeneration project.

Although the plans were first submitted to CWAC in March, the car park’s closure came at short notice for town centre shoppers and workers back in August.

CWAC officers say the car park was 65 per cent full on weekdays, meaning around 173 cars would be parked there.

They insist there is enough extra space available at the Winsford Cross multi-storey, where a 34 per cent weekday occupancy rate means there is space for around 311 extra cars, although this car park does have a short-stay time limit unlike Dene Drive.

Speaking to the Guardian as the car park closed, councillors agreed the short notice was far from ideal, but welcomed the anticipated arrival of the new Aldi.

Cllr Nathan Pardoe, Labour CWAC member for Wharton, said: “The creation of a new retail unit by Aldi will promote confidence in the town and attract other businesses whilst providing local jobs, which are desperately needed in the wake of Covid-19.”

Cllr Mike Baynham, Conservative CWAC member for Over and Verdin, added that the Aldi development ‘is a good move that we should be supporting’.

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The decision is a major milestone in the regeneration of Winsford town centre, with the current Aldi site set to be redeveloped in future as part of the council’s wide-ranging vision.

CWAC submitted a £10 million bid to Government’s Future High Streets Fund to carry out regeneration in town earlier this year – and if successful, the council will pump a further £11.7 million into the project.