Preston's latest Aldi approved in city's docklands area - this is when it will open and what it means for the retailer's other branches in the city

Preston is set to get another Aldi store after councillors gave the go-ahead for a new retail development in the city’s docklands.

Friday, 29th April 2022, 2:57 pm
Updated Friday, 29th April 2022, 3:27 pm

The move will see the existing Trident Centre office building on Port Way demolished to make way for a new shopping space, which will be split into two units.

Aldi has declared its intention to occupy the slightly smaller of the two facilities, while the neighbouring outlet will be home to an as-yet-unnamed discount retailer specialising in higher value and bulky goods.

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How the new Aldi and its neighbouring store will look (Image: The Harris Partnership)

A meeting of Preston City Council’s planning committee heard that Aldi hopes to be trading before the end of next year.

The Trident building has been unoccupied for two years and has failed to attract a new tenant, in spite of being marketed during that period.

Under current planning rules, the facility could be converted to house retail units without the need for planning permission, but council approval was required for the proposal to flatten the property and build a new one in its place.

City planning officer Robert Major said that the vacant unit was in a “poor state”, with broken windows and graffiti, and was “not contributing anything to the area as it stands at the moment”.

The entrance to the Trident Centre, off Port Way, will be maintained for the new Aldi store (image: Google)

Adam Robson, Aldi’s property director, said that the retailer would create at least 40 jobs on the site, while councillors were told that the overall development will generate between 80 and 100 full-time equivalent roles.

Mr. Robson said that Aldi had been searching for a suitable home at Preston docks for around five years. He was pressed by several committee members as to whether the new outlet - along with the recently-approved Aldi on the former Cottam Brickworks site - would pose a threat to any of its existing premises, including on Ringway.

However, the property boss said that the company was “looking to expand in Preston”.

“We know that there is a huge amount of residential growth, particularly in North West Preston, which is why we are bringing forward the scheme in Cottam.

A new restricted entrance and exit will be created off Channel Way (image: Google)

“We're constantly evaluating our existing trading estate, but there are no plans at this stage to close any of the other stores - this is a store that we wanted to bring forward to service central [and] west Preston, in particular,” Mr. Robson added.

Aldi already operates four stores in Preston, meaning the Cottam and docklands additions will be the fifth and sixth. Work on the Cottam site is expected to begin before the end of this year.

The development will be accessed from an existing entry point on Port Way, with a second one to be added directly off Channel Way, a dual carriageway, at the request of Lancashire County Council highways officials.

The new entrance will only accommodate traffic turning left from Channel Way. Vehicles will also be able to exit onto Channel Way from the same point, but these will also only be permitted to make a left turn left and head towards the roundabout. The central reservation will be retained, meaning drivers will not be able to turn right onto the other side of the dual carriageway.

Committee member Phil Crowe said that the presence of a KFC and gym nearby meant that “you just can't get out” at the current roundabout junction.

Robert Major said that the additional access and exit was intended to address the fact it was” tough junction” to run right out of the Trident Centre onto Port Way.

Around 250 car parking spaces will be created, but unlike the current layout, the main car park will be located to the front of the plot and the retail building to the back, Mr Major said.

Committee member David Borrow said that although he supported the application, it nevertheless “goes against the original land use planning when Riversway was first envisaged in the 1980s”.

“At that time, the argument was that retail would be [to] the north of the dock, with residential on the south and office and other uses at the far end of the dock,” Cllr Borrow said.

Both of the new retail units will be permitted to open between 8am and 10pm Monday to Saturday and for normal Sunday trading hours.