Plans approved for new Hartlepool Aldi - despite concerns from Tees Bay Retail Park bosses

Plans by Aldi to relocate one of its Hartlepool stores to a new larger site in the town have been given the green light despite concerns from retail bosses.

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Friday, 31st January 2020, 11:50 am

Hartlepool Borough Council Planning Committee approved plans for the supermarket to move from its existing site at Tees Bay Retail Park to a vacant parcel of land off Brenda Road, to the south-west of the Stag & Monkey.

This was despite concerns expressed by Mason Partners LLP, owners of Tees Bay Retail Park, that Aldi leaving could cause a ‘negative cycle’, adding there was space for Aldi to remain at the park.

Aldi bosses say the move will create up to 10 new jobs, as well as those linked to construction.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Artist's impression of how the new Aldi will look

Councillors sympathised with the owners of Tees Bay but ultimately unanimously approved the plans for the Aldi move, agreeing with the recommendation made by officers ahead of the meeting.

Simon Plumb, Aldi’s regional property director, said 94% of those who responded to their consultation supported the plans.

He said: “We’ve proudly served Hartlepool customers from this store since opening in 1992, but the store is too small and is not in keeping with Aldi’s modern style and no longer meets the expectation of customers.

“Our proposals would deliver an Aldi store that is larger than the existing store, more spacious with an additional aisle, wider aisles, allowing for a better display of product, and would improve the overall shopping experience for customers.”

Council planning officers said they were satisfied the new store would not impact the town’s existing retail allocation and there were no other suitable available sites for the store to move to.

However Paul Pearce, on behalf of the owners of Tees Bay Retail Park, said the park is not ‘thriving’ as reports suggest, and noted the retail market in general is struggling.

He also added there is room for Aldi to stay at the park in a larger store.

He said: “We don’t understand the comment that Tees Bay Retail Park is thriving, it isn’t thriving at all, it may get busy, but that’s a completely different point.

“The park has some of the lowest rent in the country but despite that we have been trying for over five years to attract more retailers to the park and failed.

“We’ve tried to come up with innovative solutions to fill the void, one of which is the box park that you gave planning permission for.

“We didn’t come up with that idea because there is a massive demand for the park, we came up with that idea because there isn’t.

“It [Aldi moving] will undermine the retail park itself…there will be potentially more departures and we’ll end up in a negative cycle, we won’t be creating jobs, we’ll be doing the exact opposite.

“The retail impact is massive, the impact on jobs and vitality of schemes in the town will take a huge, huge hit.”

In total 33 letters of support had been submitted for the scheme, with five letters of objections from residents.