PLANS for an edge-of-town Lidl store in Wellington look set to win approval.

Somerset West and Taunton Council's planning meeting next Thursday (January 13) is recommended to grant conditional permission for the supermarket off Taunton Road.

Despite opposition from Wellington Town Council, the proposals have received the overwhelming support of locals, while no other statutory consultees have objected.

The plot off the Torres Vedras Drive roundabout had been earmarked as employment land for Swallowfieed and Relyon, although they do not wish to relocate there.

Representatives of Waitrose and Asda, who have stores in Wellington, wanted to block the development, claiming it would impact negatively on the town centre.

Supporters of the scheme point to:

  • the creation of 40 jobs;
  • enabling Lidl customers who currently travel to other towns to shop locally;
  • an increased population leading to a need for more shops;
  • reduction in town centre congestion;
  • a discount store will attract more people to Wellington;
  • it is possible a Lidl would other retailers will be attracted to the town;
  • development of a site that has been vacant for a long time.

Among objections are:

  • an inadequate transport assessment;
  • highway safety fears;
  • no provision for cyclists;
  • noise and light pollution.

The town council has stated it welcomes a Lidl store but believes the proposed greenfield 'gateway' location is unsuitable as it is outside the Wellington settlement boundary.

It is also concerned about highways and pedestrian issues and "severe harm" to town centre trade.

An online petition run by Lidl attracting almost 5,000 response showed 87 per cent of people in favour, 11 per cent against and two per cent undecided.

An officer's report to planners says: "The proposed development, which is for a retail development on employment land, is considered a departure to the local plan and has been advertised accordingly.

"Officers are, however, satisfied that the benefits to be gained by the development - creation of jobs, provision of access to the adjoining employment land which could attract future investment and potentially the creation of the vehicular access to a new railway station/halt for Wellington and the surrounding area - outweigh the loss of this small section of employment land."

It adds: "The proposed development...will not significantly impact on the vitality and viability of Wellington town centre or local centres."