Proposals to expand a Hartlepool supermarket and extend its opening hours have been approved by councillors.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee voted in favour of plans to increase the size of the Lidl store in Jesmond Gardens by 60%.
The plans included extending the existing Monday to Saturday opening hours from 8am-8pm to 7am-11pm and expanding the car park from 59 to 107 spaces.
The proposals also include a new second access road to the shop from Throston Grange Lane, which raised concerns from objectors, and a site visit was arranged for councillors before they made their decision.
Two councillors objected to the proposals on safety grounds and a resident also spoke out against the plans.
However the majority of councillors supported the plans, as recommended by planning officers.
Marcin Koszyczarek, from planning agent Rapleys LLP on behalf of Lidl, said the expansion would provide a boost for the area.
He said: “It’s a major investment by Lidl to boost local economy and create jobs, the majority of which will be staffed by local people.
“Overall the proposal will comprise of a high quality development in line with the current store, provide various shopping choices and provide significant investment to boost the local economy and give people job opportunities.”
He added the extension of the opening hours will put the store in line with 700 other Lidl stores across the UK.
The proposals will see the store expand by 725 sq metres to 1,839 sq metres.
Four objections were received to the plans by residents and one spoke out at the meeting about why he felt the proposals were unacceptable due to safety concerns.
Resident Mr Fish said: “The traffic is horrendous, it’s horrendous on a morning, tea time, afternoon.
“It’s not viable, it’s not possible and I think the council is opening itself to creating an accident spot.”
He also raised concerns as to why the opening hours needed to be extended citing other stores open late in the area.
Coun Paddy Brown, on the planning committee, said: “I have concerns and reservations, one about extending opening and delivery hours and the noise that will create.
“I also have concerns about the dual entrance and exit creating a cut though for traffic to go from Throston Grange Lane onto Jesmond Gardens.”
However Coun Mike Young responded it would take longer for vehicles to cut through than use the existing roads, making it ‘illogical’ for drivers.
Planning committee chair Coun Rob Cook also asked the applicant to install a pelican crossing on Throston Grange Lane, instead of the proposed zebra crossing, which he agreed to.
Originally Lidl bosses wanted to demolish the store and build a replacement at the same site and plans were approved for the move in April 2017.
However, after a review in response to ‘wider company changes’ the supermarket submitted the new expansion application earlier this year.
Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service