Protest staged over new Lidl store for Rushden

Londis shop owner Mohan Momi and protesters
Londis shop owner Mohan Momi and protesters

Dozens of people protested over plans for a new supermarket on the site of a former recycling centre.

Lidl has applied to build a new store in Newton Road, Rushden, where the town’s former recycling centre and council depot used to be.

Council officers have recommended that the plans, to be discussed by East Northamptonshire Council’s development control committee next week, be approved despite more than 80 letters of objection and a petition signed by hundreds of people against the application.

The petition was launched at the Londis store in Newton Road, and some of its signatories took their protest out on to the street on Saturday.

Londis store owner Mohan Momi said: “There was probably 30 to 35 people there, although the weather spoilt it a bit.

“We had quite a few beeps from cars and people waving at us, but we had to finish it early because of the rain.

“Whether it will make any difference remains to be seen. But we had 80-plus letters all objecting to it.”

The proposal is for a new Lidl foodstore with new access, 111 car parking spaces and associated landscaping.

If approved, it would sell everyday grocery items, selected non-branded household products, some chilled/frozen food, a small range of fresh produce and fresh bread. But protesters have raised a number of reasons for not allowing it to go ahead.

Many of these are cited in the report to be discussed next week, including an increase in traffic, too many supermarkets in Rushden, an increase in anti-social behaviour and loss of free parking for the town centre.

Mr Momi added: “My gut feeling is I’m 99 per cent sure they will approve it, the reason being they are selling the land and they are the ones giving the planning permission.

“We have done everything we can and we can’t do any more than that. We have got signatures, letters and we have seen the MP, Peter Bone. Now we must wait and see.”

Competition is not a material consideration when it comes to determining a planning application, but Mr Momi is worried about it.

He said: “I would like to see housing or something else there that doesn’t affect other businesses so everyone could make a living. I would probably go out of business if they come here, I can’t compete with them.”

The plan, which is for a store in addition to the Lidl branch already in Brindley Place, Rushden, will be considered by councillors at East Northamptonshire House, Thrapston, at 7pm on October 15.