Councillor left frustrated as planning inspector gives go ahead for new Co-op supermarket in Louth

Coun Sarah Dodds.
Coun Sarah Dodds.

A prominent Louth councillor says it’s ‘frustrating as heck’ to hear a planning inspector has given the go ahead for a new supermarket and housing development in Louth.

As reported earlier today Metaris Properties Ltd have seen their appeal against East Lindsey District Council’s ruling to turn down the Newmarket development in June upheld.

The development includes a 3,000 square foot Co-operative Food supermarket, two smaller retail units and six houses on the site of the old Brown’s garage.

Councillors, so fearful of traffic problems, described it as a ‘tragedy waiting to happen’ in June and were concerned for the wellbeing of other traders within the town centre; voting 11 to two against the plans.

There were fears that the adjacent Watts Lane, currently a private road, would not cope with the volume of traffic.

But county and district councillor Sarah Dodds believes residents’ views have been dismissed by national inspector KA Ellison who gave her verdict on Tuesday.

“I’m very, very disappointed. We have a situation like this it shows how difficult it is for residents to put their concerns across,” she said.

“East Lindsey were quite happy, the committee were convinced by the residents’ arguments.

“We have a situation where we have an appeal who has no local knowledge who can just override those local concerns.”

The outlet will be in addition to the existing larger Co-operative Food store in Northgate, Louth, which will remain open.

The original plans included a Sainsbury’s supermarket, but the developer has revealed the retailer did not want to wait for the outcome of an appeal, so they pulled out allowing the Co-op to plug the gap.

But Coun Dodds believes the new store will put pressure on the stores further along Newmarket.

“There’s no call for extra retail that end of town,” she said.

“The residents are very happy being served by the independent retailers who are already there.”

“We’ve got businesses there who have been in business for years, it’s going to be unfair on them.

“There’s a load of issues that people with local knowledge have. The planning committee upheld those concerns, it’s frustrating as heck.”

Stephen McDonald. Regional acquisitions manager for The Co-operative Food, said: “The Co-operative is proud of its record of operating at the heart of many communities.

“A new food store in Newmarket will create new jobs, and will complement our existing outlet in the town.

“We’re looking forward to building on the long tradition The Co-operative Food has of serving the local community.”

Giles Walter, a director of Metaris Properties, said: “We are pleased that the planning inspector has granted permission for the scheme and that The Co-operative Group has committed to open a convenience store on the site.”

According to the developer, the new store could be open for business as early as the start of 2014.