A decision on whether Lidl should be given planning permission to build a discount supermarket in Berkhamsted is due to be made tomorrow.
Dacorum Borough Council’s development control committee will vote on the issue during a meeting at 7pm in Hemel Hempstead Civic Centre.
More than 350 people have signed a petition against it – but more than 700 people have signed one in favour of it.
The anti-Lidl lobby were branded ‘toffee-nosed twits’ and ‘snobs’ earlier this year as the debate took a bitter turn amid arguments about the working-classes being priced out of Berkhamsted. After a story on the Gazette’s website was picked up by the Daily Mail, BBC and ITV camera crews rushed to Berkhamsted to gather opinions on Lidl.
Dacorum Borough Council’s planning officers now say the proposal should be given planning permission – subject to S106 funding being provided to offset any negative effects of the development.
In the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting, they say there is ‘a qualitative case for permitting a discount supermarket in Berkhamsted’.
They say: “The assessment shows that there are no more centrally located sites or premises suitable or available to accommodate the proposed Lidl store.
“The impact on the vitality and viability of Berkhamsted town centre would be limited to no more than a 6% trade diversion.
“In view of the above, the inclusion of a residential element, including affordable housing, in the development of the site is a welcome addition.”
The officers say multiple planning conditions should imposed on Lidl. But they say if councillors support the plan, the final decision should be made by the council’s group manager for development – with a view to approval.
If successful, the Lidl would be built in the Gossoms End area of Berkhamsted between Billet Lane and the A4251 – and 30 flats would be built above it.
Ten of them would be affordably priced.