Community split over impact of Aldi scheme

PLANS for an Aldi supermarket in Ecclesfield have split the community.

Scores of representations for and against the proposed development on the site of long-established engineering business Rollem at the corner of The Common and Mill Road have been submitted to the city council.

Objectors warn of traffic problems, air pollution and a threat to existing shops in the area; supporters welcome the prospect of more competition and cheaper prices.

City planners are currently assessing all the implications before submitting a report for city councillors. No verdict is expected until the end of August at the earliest.

The discount supermarket chain is looking for permission to redevelop the Rollem land, with the engineering firm moving to bigger and more modern premises in the area.

Aldi says it wants to give more choice to local shoppers in a development that would create 25 to 30 supermarket jobs – Rollem envisages it would be able to offer another 60 jobs – and that would include a car park to be shared by its customers and other visitors to the Ecclesfield centre.

A protest petition says the new store would add traffic to that generated by the Morrisons supermarket, and vehicles turning into the car park would slow the flow and cause longer queues. Traffic noise would increase.

The petition adds: “We currently have a Morrisons, Co-op, Lidl, Netto, Asda, with a new larger Asda and a proposed Sainsbury’s store all within a six-mile radius of The Common.”

An Ecclesfield resident says: “The proposed Aldi store would virtually kill off the smaller retailers in Ecclesfield for good, and this is not beneficial for the village, not beneficial for the residents, not beneficial for choice and not beneficial for employment.”

Local councillor and cabinet member for business Steve Wilson is objecting on the basis of overdevelopment, traffic, air quality, flooding, design and a threat to the Old Mill House.

Letters in favour say that the new Aldi would be especially welcomed by older shoppers.

One supporter, who lives in Washington Road, says: “We already shop in Aldi, but it’s near Rotherham. The food is good and the prices are good.”

Another, in Mill Road, says: “I feel it is a better option that having flats, houses, takeaways, etc.”

Ecclesfield Parish Council is telling the city council that, while its planning committee supports the scheme in principle, “they would like to request the need for consideration to be given to the development of the old mill and also traffic management issues.”

Planning application: 11/01426/FUL.