Just days after thousands of information leaflets – outlining proposals to ‘increase shopping choice for people living on the eastern side of the city’ – popped through local letterboxes, Lidl GB launched what l can only describe as a ‘charm offensive with a ‘community consultation’ event last night at the Lambridge Training Ground on the London Road.
Today (Friday) l have had a response to points l made at this get-together but first an account of the event.
It happened to be next door to the land the supermarket giant has/is buying from Bath Rugby Club and on which they hope to have a ‘bespoke-designed’ new foodstore up and running sometime in 2026.
Alongside the large display boards, visually outlining their proposals, were tables laden with cakes, biscuits and sweets. Apart from illustrating just what fare might be available – if and when the store opens – l take it that it was there for members of the public to enjoy?
It all just struck me as a bit weird and , while l was one of the first inside the clubhouse when the doors opened at 4pm, l saw no one go near the tables. Maybe temptation to tuck in overcame others who came after me but was l mistaken in ‘reading a feeling’ of not being seen to ‘fraternize’ with those ‘delighted to share their plans with the community.’
While there were plenty of company representatives there to talk about green landscaping and the proposed, sensitively-designed building, no one was prepared to be interviewed on camera. I was promised a statement from Head Office and will add it to this story when it arrives.
In the meantime, those arriving to look over the proposals were greeted by a group of protestors. Not long ago many of them had marched from Larkhall Square to the proposed site – temporarily blocking the London Road as they crossed.
The main objections here being the harm done to a greenfield site in terms of the environment and ecology and what is an important and historic entrance to a World Heritage City. They also are concerned about the business impact on existing traders in nearby Larkhall.
I spoke to one of the objectors standing outside.
She’s Rachael Hushon who is chair of the Federation of Bath Residents’ Associations and asked her why she was there?
Meanwhile, someone living locally has sent me a clip. They told me:
There is a petition running and more information can be found via TransitionLarkhall.wordpress.com/save-baths-wildlife-haven.
I have put a number of questions to a Lidl GB representative and here is the statement from Head Office on the event and the objections..
- We’ve had a requirement for a second Lidl store in Bath for a number of years and have searched exhaustively for suitable sites during this time. However, as our planning submission will show, there are no alternative suitable and available sites that can accommodate our proposal. We believe that the London Road site is the most suitable, accessible and convenient location for a new store to serve this community.
- We have undertaken detailed ecology assessments of the site, since January 2022, and these findings have informed every step of the design process to ensure our proposals are carefully designed to protect wildlife and ensure it can continue to flourish. Importantly, our plans seek to preserve and enhance existing habitats around the site by delivering a target net biodiversity gain in excess of 40%, far in excess of the legal and planning requirement of 10% net gain.
- To do this, our proposal includes extensive new tree, hedge and wildflower planting, and a seasonal wetland to a green roof, bird baths, bat boxes and bee towers. The proposal also retains and enhances the existing woodland by the River Avon with the car park boundary at least 35m from the river edge. Lighting and landscape designs have also been sensitively and appropriately designed to ensure habitats utilising the existing tree lines bounding the site can continue to do so.
- As part of our application, a detailed and thorough Transport Assessment will be submitted with the planning application and will be reviewed by BANES Highways Team as part of the planning process. It is important to note that peak times for supermarkets typically fall outside of the morning and evening weekday rush hour, so the impact on people travelling to work at the busiest times is expected to be low.
- It’s too early to provide details on timings, including completion dates.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to come and discuss our plans to bring a new Lidl store to Bath. For those unable to attend the public consultation, there is still time for people to share their views. Residents who received a consultation leaflet can return it with their thoughts, and we would welcome anyone who wishes to discuss the proposal to contact us directly. We look forward to reviewing all the feedback to ensure our plans best meet the needs of those living in the local area and to submitting our planning application in due course.
The store proposals can be viewed at the consultation website: londonroadbath.newstore.lidl.co.uk and anyone who would like to discuss the proposal can call 0800 089 0361 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile l have received the following video from someone living in the Lambridge area. He said: “Attached is a video I took last evening of a Beaver!
This is a protected species and its habitat cannot be disturbed.
This was less than 100 metres away from the super store proposed site.
We now have incredible wildlife returning to our beautiful river and countryside…..surely we can go building unnecessary supermarkets in their habitat?”
I’d rather have one beaver than two Lidls.
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