Discount store Aldi has announced it will be making a bid for a site in Redruth.
The food reatiler will be holding a public exhibition next week to outline its plans for the former Avers Garage site which has stood empty since 2003. The chain will be submitting a planning application to Cornwall Council for a 1,254 m² store which would create up to 40 new full and part-time jobs.
A spokesman for Aldi said: “We recognise that the site in its present state serves as nothing more than an eyesore and our proposals present an excellent opportunity to see it finally regenerated, helping contribute to the creation of a new gateway to the town. “A new store on the site will provide local residents with the ability to easily reach a discount food retailer without having to travel elsewhere.”
Comment We have here a good example of the tension between what is good for a retailer and what is good for the wider society.
From Aldis perspective this is a good site – adjacent to what it perceives to be a good potential customer base and with the added advantage of being located right next to the A30 and A3047 – with the potential for catering for consumers from Illogan and Camborne and wider afield.
From the perspective of planning good practise and sustainability this is not a good site. Why?
1) It is detached from a town centre with the consequence that shoppers who visit this store will have to travel elsewhere for other good and services.
2) It is next to a busy roundabout, which has recently been realiged to ‘cut congestion’ – by its very presence it will generate extra traffic and congestion will rise!
3) 40 extra jobs – ah we have to compare this figure with extra jobseeker numbers in Redruth.
Planning policy should work to:
1) Ensure that retail is restricted to retail areas preferably in existing town centres. This allows for synergy in that people can visit a range of shops and other facilities in the same area instead of travelling from one site to another.
2) Reduce traffic levels. Dispersing retail sites across an urban area leads to flows of traffic from one area to another. The aim should be to reduce not generate traffic. A location close to the A30 will encourage traffic from other areas.
3) Make the best use of land. This site does not allow this.
Now in case anyone thinks we are against Aldi stores, the objections raised apply to any retail outlet in the wrong location. In fact the Aldi store in Camborne is a good example of what can be done – adjacent to the town centre and well designed!