This Tuesday evening, the Planning Committee will decide on the latest Lidl application to open a new store by the Greenhill roundabout on the Thanet Way.
As the recently-elected councillor for Greenhill, I knocked on hundreds of doors during the campaign and the number one local issue raised by residents was the Lidl application. It was clear from their feedback that there is a large majority of Greenhill residents in support of the new store. This feedback is consistent with Lidl's own local surveys, showing 70% of residents in favour of the new supermarket.
Clearly planning law has primacy is considering new developments, but looking at the previous split votes on this application, clearly councillors have been able to interpret the planning rules either way on this decision.
As such, when making their decision, I would urge my fellow councillors to consider the strong local support in support of the new Lidl, which is based on the following factors:
- Greenhill is unusual in that it does not currently have a supermarket, nor is there one that can be walked to from the ward
- There are many Greenhill residents on lower incomes and many who are elderly – the new Lidl store would allow them to save the money they currently have to spend on driving or taking the bus
- Greenhill and Herne Bay more generally are in need of regeneration – this development will provide a large number of jobs
- The Lidl development will replace most of the lost green space via its grassed roof, is very energy efficient and will be the greenest Lidl in the country
- Currently Greenhill roundabout is not cyclist-friendly and acts as a barrier for people to adopt cycling. The Lidl development will provide cyclists with a safe route from south-to-north across Greenhill roundabout, and help encourage more people take up this healthy and environmentally-friendly form of transport (regardless of whether they are using Lidl or not)
- The development will also see an upgrading of the pedestrian routes surrounding the roundabout, such that we will see many Greenhil (and indeed West Bay) residents walking rather than driving to their weekly shop; this will improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions.
In summary, I hope the councillors will not block the wishes of the majority of Greenhill local residents. There are so many good reasons to approve this new store.