'Aldi is coming and we'll just have to make the best of it,' says independent shopkeeper
A shopkeeper from Leyland says that he is resigned to “making the best of a bad situation” after being left disappointed by the outcome of a meeting with Aldi – which is building a new store opposite his business.
David Brindle, who runs the Costcutter store in the town, objected to the discount retailer’s plans to relocate from its existing base on Westgate to the junction of School Lane and Golden Hill Lane when the proposal was put forward earlier this year.
But South Ribble Borough Council’s planning committee approved the application at the second time of asking after the firm redesigned the appearance of the proposed new store so that it was more in-keeping with the area. Almost 400 locals had signed a petition against the development, with several of them outlining concerns over the potential impact on traffic and, in David’s case, local businesses.
The authority recently brokered a meeting between residents and the company ahead of building work which is due to begin next year.
However, David says that the gathering was “a bit of a waste of time”.
“I don’t know what I thought we were going to get out of it if I’m honest, but to a degree, it was just a publicity opportunity for Aldi to tell everybody how good they are,” said David, who has run his convenience store with his wife Margaret for over 45 years.
“Basically, they can do what they like on the site as long as they abide by the conditions – and anything that happens as a result is no concern of theirs.
“They said there will be a site manager who we can speak to if we have any problems during the construction, but basically it was just blah, blah.”
Only around a dozen people attended the meeting and David says that many of the original objectors are now resigned to the retailer’s relocation.
“The only thing that would have stopped it is a judicial review of the planning committee’s decision – but that is too expensive for us to even contemplate.
“All we can do is make the best of a bad situation and hope that our business is catering for different needs compared to Aldi.
“Most people come in here for essentials rather than a big shop, so we’ll just have to hope that it works out alright for us,” David added.
Aldi was approached for comment.