Discount shopping chain Lidl is now planning to open a branch in Berkhamsted.
The town is not known for its cheaper food store offerings, where the biggest supermarket is currently a Waitrose. A Marks & Spencer Simply Food store will soon be opening nearby in the town’s former Royal Mail sorting office. Both retailers are known for their more expensive prices.
Lidl is planning to open its store in properties where Davis & Samson Demolition Contractors and Roy Chapman Cars are now based. It has already bought the two High Street buildings, which are near Berkhamsted’s Billet Lane and Lagley Meadow Recreation Ground in the Gossoms End area.
They will be demolished before the ‘multi-million pound redevelopment’ begins. It is expected that the outlet would create around 40 new jobs, which the firm says will go to people who live in the area.
Lidl acquisitions manager James Hanna says the new store would be 1,200 square metres with 30 apartments to be built across two floors above the food store.
Ten of them will be allocated for affordable housing, he said in a letter to people who live nearby.
The letter says: “We will be providing 68 car parking spaces (including disabled and parent and child spaces) for customers of the food store.
“There will also be approximately 40 car parking spaces for the residents of the dwellings.”
Already the news has attracted more than 90 comments from people using the Everything Berko Facebook page.
One user wrote: “I’m all for it! I love Lidl.” Another said: “Sorry all you Berko snobs - some of us actually like spending less without travelling miles!” But one person simply said: “Oh no.”
A sign has appeared inviting people to an informal consultation between 11am and 5pm at Berkhamsted Civic Centre on Wednesday, April 16.
The Lidl sign says: “You will have the opportunity to view the proposed planning application and sample a selection of products sold in our store.
“Members of our development team will also be available to discuss the proposals and answer any questions that you may have regarding Lidl and the proposed scheme.”
Rumours have been circulating for months that Lidl was planning to launch a new store in Hemel Hempstead, where rival Aldi opened a store in November.
It is understood that a planning application for its new Berkhamsted plans to go ahead will be submitted by the end of the month.