Hayling locals meet with Lidl team to discuss new store

Alex Hirst from Lidl's property team was there to answer questions Picture: Tamara Siddiqui
Alex Hirst from Lidl's property team was there to answer questions Picture: Tamara Siddiqui
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MEMBERS of the public met the team from a supermarket chain which could set up shop in their area.

Lidl, which wants to open a store on Hayling Island, discussed proposals with residents ahead of its planning application submission to Havant Borough Council.

The supermarket brand plans to build a 2,462sq m store on Rookery Field, Manor Road, and wanted to give locals more details.

Lidl UK’s regional head of property, James Mitchell, led the consultation.

He said: ‘Before we formalise proposals for the store, we wanted to gather people’s views.

‘We hope to come away with an understanding of how residents feel about the scheme.

‘A positive point raised was that on the island most people choose or are forced to leave to do their main food shop. Our proposals would see a proper food store on Hayling and alleviate that problem.

‘Many have been keen to understand how we would demonstrate the traffic impact as acceptable.

‘A vast majority of the people going to the store would be people already on the highway network, for example they might have been heading off the island to do their food shop anyway.

‘The majority of trips to our store won’t be new trips, just diverted ones.’

At the consultation, which ran from 10am to 7pm, locals could eat from a spread of food sold at Lidl, in order to see what’s available and at what price. They could also sign support or objection forms, detailing their views.

Resident Rob Radford, 57, was at the event. He said: ‘This store is too big. I’d welcome a smaller one on the island somewhere else. If you develop a greenfield site, which Rookery Field is, you lose others in the area.

‘I believe Lidl’s policy is to close its smaller stores, so will it do that and increase traffic on the island as people visit this bigger one?’.

But a 71-year-old woman backed the plan, saying: ‘We want somewhere different to shop, a Lidl here would be well-used. At the moment I go to Aldi in Havant.

‘Rookery Field has been empty for ages and there aren’t many brownfield sites to build on instead. People need to start living in this century, not the last one. We need these things.’