Low cost supermarket Lidl wants to expand its operations in Clitheroe on land which is currently used as a public car park provided by the local council.
The supermarket, which is situated on Shawbridge Street, has submitted plans to Ribble Valley Borough Council, which agreed to sell the car park to Lidl 18 months ago, to build an extension to its store and provide an extra nine staff car parking spaces.
However, the proposal has angered local residents, who were not even aware that the council had sold the site.
“We are campaigning to get the application refused by Ribble Valley Borough Council and to ultimately save our car park”, said local resident Diane Wilson-Mayor, who lives on Peel Street.
“The car park is used regularly by residents of the surrounding streets, by people who work in the town and by visitors to the town.
“There are currently 14 pay and display spaces on the car park and two disabled spaces which are well used and also visitors and supporters to the local Clitheroe FC use the car park on match days.
“The surrounding streets of Peel Street, Derby Street, and Grafton Street are full of cars most days which means that residents and visitors to the town find it extremely difficult to park outside or near their homes. Many of the residents have resorted to purchasing car parking passes for the Peel Street car park (and any nearby long stay car parks) for a cost of £60 to £80. However, this means that they have somewhere to park when the streets are full.
“By taking away the car park, the struggle to find car parking spaces will get even harder. This means that streets further away will most likely see many more cars parked there because there will be nowhere else to go. Who knows what other effects this could cause?”
Diane’s 14-year-old son Ben, who attends Bowland High School at Grindleton, has been helping with the campaign and has been leaflet dropping to inform residents about the proposal.
Lidl wants to use the extra space for a new in store bakery and freezer area plus staff car parking.
Jonathan Harper, of Rapleys – Lidl’s agent – said: “The proposed extension and internal alterations will enable Lidl to create an in-store bakery and freezer area, which will create functional and aesthetic consistency between Lidl’s Clitheroe store and the design of the company’s new food stores, known as the ‘New Store Concept’, which are currently being brought forward across the country.
“The proposed extension to the building is directly opposite the junction of Peel Street with Derby Street. As a result, there will be minimal impact on the amenities of nearby dwellings.
“The changes to the car park to reduce the number of spaces (from 14 pay and display spaces with two disabled bays) to a nine space private car park for staff will not have an adverse impact on the adjoining properties. In fact, the change in the nature of the car parking area and the reduction in the number of spaces will result in an improvement through a reduction in the number of traffic movements, and a reduction in noise and disturbance for local residents.”
A Ribble Valley Borough Council spokesman said: “The council’s policy and finance committee agreed to sell the Peel Street car park to Lidl 18 months ago and contracts have recently been exchanged. The proposed sale is subject to a number of conditions and it could be many months before it is completed.”