Budget food store Aldi says it is committed to building a store in Oakham that will open next year while a question mark remains over the future of Sainsbury’s.
Aldi says it is still committed to bringing a multi-million pound store to the town and intends to be able to welcome shoppers in 2016, although a spokesman for the chain would not confirm when work would start.
The plans for the 1,485sqm store on land between the A606 Oakham bypass and Lands’ End Way, were approved in October when Rutland County Council’s development control and licensing committee voted in favour of the application, despite officers recommending the plans be refused.
More than 250 people - the majority in favour - packed into the meeting and 460 letters of support were sent to the council, as well as an online petition.
A spokesman for Aldi said: “In light of the recent activity with regards to other supermarkets, we are finalising our plans in order to deliver the best scheme we can for the residents of Oakham.
“We will keep the local community updated and if residents have any questions they can call a member of the project team on freephone 0800 298 7040.
“We would like to thank the local community for their continued support, which was instrumental in achieving the final result.”
The new store will create up to 40 jobs.
A proposal to build a Sainsbury’s store on the same site in 2011 was rejected because the land was designated for employment use. Sainsbury’s later won permission to demolish the former Rutland County College site in Barleythorpe Road, Oakham, and has cleared the site in preparation for work to start but has not confirmed when that will be.
A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said: “We are continuing to review the future of our Oakham site and will update the local community, once we are in a position to do so.”
The spokesman said the firm is reviewing its development programme in light of the fact that customers are making more frequent trips to the supermarket with smaller basket sizes. There has also been an increase in online and convenience shopping.
A ‘For Sale’ sign has gone up close to the Sainsbury’s site which has added to the confusion but the spokesman insisted that it wasn’t their site.
The site is being marketed by Rigby and Co and is 1.5 acres next to the Sainsbury’s site, where Lonsdale House was located.
The house, which was frequently targeted by arsonists and vandals, has been cleared to make the space available. Visit www.rigbyandco.com for more information.