The war of words between two budget supermarkets over plans for Whitchurch has escalated again after Lidl hit back at Aldi.
Aldi is waiting on planning permission for a store in Wrexham Road but has faced stiff opposition from residents, while plenty also support it, and also from Lidl who has a store in Bridgewater Street.
Last month, representatives for Aldi, in a submission to Karen Townend, planning officer at Shropshire Council, insisted that evidence given by Lidl that it would have to close if the rival store opened should be discredited.
However, Plan A – representing Lidl – believes the submission on behalf of Aldi that Lidl is over-trading, is incorrect.
The statement said: “The approach offered by JLL in its letter of November 14 seeks to discredit the evidence presented by Lidl to demonstrate that the Whitchurch store is over-trading.
“While it has been demonstrated that JLL has either failed to understand or properly interpret the evidence or has presented an inconsistent and contradictory approach, we contend that JLL’s approach is misdirected.
“It is Aldi/JLL’s responsibility to demonstrate compliance with retail policy tests and, therefore, it is up to JLL to corroborate its household survey results with physical evidence of over-trading at the Lidl store.
“It has wholly failed to do so. We have nevertheless demonstrated that JLL’s impact assessment is flawed and does not present a worst-case scenario.
“Indeed it is apparent that Whitchurch town centre is not performing robustly and would be more vulnerable to the loss of trade of Aldi than JLL has indicated.
“Evidence demonstrates that there is a strong likelihood that the Aldi proposal will directly harm a number of town centre retailers and will prejudice the town centre’s vitality and viability.”
Plan A said it also intends to provide actual trading data to Shropshire Council – in confidence – to ‘demonstrate beyond doubt’ that the Lidl store in Whitchurch is not over-trading.
Meanwhile, Aldi submitted a further document to Shropshire Council setting out the benefits of a proposed development and the need for a new supermarket.
Shropshire Council is yet to make a decision on the controversial development.
See full story in the Whitchurch Herald