Historic inn to be flattened as Aldi finally gets permission to build new store in Tarleton

A new supermarket will be built in Tarleton after council bosses gave plans the final seal of approval.

After a long-running application which saw High Court involvement, West Lancashire Council's planning officers last week signed off approval on the plans for the 1,743sq.m discount store on the site of the derelict former Bay Leaf Indian restaurant in Tarleton.

Under the same plan, local logistics firm GBA Services will build a two-storey office block on the same land.

An Aldi spokesperson said: “We’re pleased to have received planning permission to bring an Aldi store to Tarleton and are grateful for the significant local support.

The derelict former Bay Leaf restaurant

“Once open, the store will create up to 40 jobs and help local people shop and save closer to home. We hope to begin preliminary site preparations in the coming months and will keep the community updated on developments.”

The application was an amendment to a previous approval in March 2020, which had been taken to the High Court by rival supermarket chain the Co-operative Group, but was thrown out.

>>>Read more about the first application here

Both the first and most recent applications were controversial, as the land is designated as Green Belt, and proposals had previously been identified as being "harmful to openness".

The Co-operative Group was among those to raise objections this time.

They claimed that Aldi had failed to demonstrate that there are 'very special circumstances' to justify development in the Green Belt and also failed to meet certain aspects of development plans.

They also claimed the development would cause a a significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of the village centres of Tarleton and Hesketh Bank.

However, planning officer Jill Ryan said that Aldi had put forward "very special circumstances to justify the development".

In a report to the planning committee, she said: "I do regard the economic case put forward to bring significant benefits, and the improvements to visual amenity to bring moderate benefits, which I consider in this instance to outweigh the harm identified.

"I consider that the proposal would not have a significant detrimental impact on the vitality or viability of existing retail centres. The development would be acceptable in terms of design, drainage, highway safety, biodiversity and residential amenity."

Amendments to the March 2020 application include a marginal alteration of store position to account for a sewer diversion, the addition of an external lobby to enhance the customer experience, updated plant equipment, the addition of a substation required for store operation, and car parking alterations to account for the proposed substation and to protect existing trees.

Access to the site will be taken from a new access point off Liverpool Road. There will be a car park located centrally to the site which would accommodate 129 car parking spaces in total; 100 for the foodstore, and 29 car parking spaces for the office development.

The building

The decision marks the end of the crumbling restaurant which shut down in 2007 and has since become “an unpleasant eyesore” according to planning reports.

The Bay Leaf was originally the Rams Head Inn which has stood on that site in Liverpool Road since the mid-17th century - it bears a date stone of 1640. The property is on West Lancashire Council’s list of buildings of local architectural or historic interest. But it is not designated as a heritage asset.