A local councillor hopes officials will keep a watchful eye on the traffic impact Lisburn’s new Lidl store will bring when it opens.
Alex Redpath was speaking this week as clearance work began at the Prince William Road and Antrim Road junction.
Just over two years ago, Lidl was given the go ahead for the store in the city after a long and bitter campaign by residents who fought against the development for nearly seven years.
Residents succeeded in having the store reduced in size to 1,065 square metres and managed to get tree preservation orders on trees at the site.
The Planning Appeals Commission gave the store the go ahead and this week a spokesperson for Lidl confirmed that work was starting at the new store.
However, Councillor Redpath said that though he hoped that more jobs would be created with the opening of the new store he feared that it would have huge impact on the traffic.
“I am pleased to welcome investment in Lisburn and the creation of any new jobs,” he said.
“Lidl have a reputation for delivering affordable products and are driving competition in the grocery sector which should benefit ordinary working people.
“However, I have concerns about the site of this development. As anyone living in the area will know the roundabouts outside Tesco are operating at full capacity.
“The proximity of a large supermarket and two large schools brings large volumes of traffic through this area every day. This traffic is already slow moving and I am convinced the addition of another store will make matters worse.
“My first choice of site for any new development is Lisburn city centre. However as this development is already underway we will have to keep an eye on the traffic impact and manage it as best we can.”
He continued, “Lidl operate 580 stores across the UK and has been enjoying rapid growth at the expense of large supermarkets. Lidl’s share of the UK Grocery market hit 3% for the first time last year.”
When Lidl first applied for planning permission they had originally sought for a store of over 1770 sq metres on the same site with additional retail units.
A second planning application for the site included a store and nine townhouses. Both applications were rejected by the Planning Service.
Tree preservation orders put in place and Lidl have been told by the PAC to carry out additional tree planting and landscaping to all of the boundaries and this must be done before the site opens.