Spring opening for resort’s new supermarket

The new Aldi store at Blackpool Retail Park off Squires Gate Lane
The new Aldi store at Blackpool Retail Park off Squires Gate Lane
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Around 30 jobs are set to be created when a new supermarket opens later this spring.

Cut-price retailer Aldi has confirmed that a store currently under construction at the Blackpool Retail Park is nearing completion.

The Squires Gate store will be the German retailer’s third in the town.

The site had initially provoked controversy as Blackpool Council’s planning committee had deferred making a decision on whether to approve the application when it was made in 2015.

Councillors had asked the applicant to consider instead taking over the former Booths site on Highfield Road because it was more closely linked to existing shopping areas and has better public transport links.

Gary Johnston, head of planning at Blackpool Council, said at the time: “The Booths store is closing and in our view that site is sequentially more preferable because it has links to the Highfield Road centre and is better served by public transport.”

But Aldi rejected the proposals, saying the Booths store was not suitable for a food retail site and unworkable.

At a subsequent meeting councillors decided to allow the Squires Gate store to go ahead since Aldi would look for another site.

Coun Andrew Stansfield said: “I fail to see why it cannot become part of the retail side there.

“We are not going to move the minds of Aldi to go in the Booths store.

“If they do not go here they will not look elsewhere.

“I think we should look positive on this site.”

The new store will have a retail area of around 1,760 square metres and parking space for up to 44 cars.

Its site was earmarked for “employment land” in the local plan.

But a decision was made by councillors to allow it to be used for retail since it borders the existing retail park and the buildings which occupied the site had been empty for some time and had little prospect of coming into use at the time.

The Highfield Road Booths store site now has planning permission for houses and a convenience store.

An Aldi spokesmantoday said: “Our new Blackpool store is progressing well and we are looking forward to opening in spring.

“The new store will create up to 30 jobs.”

The firm has Blackpool stores at Oxford Square and Waterloo Road.

Cut-price rival Lidl is currently building a store further along Squires Gate Lane at the former Westgate House council offices site and Morrisons has a major store across Amy Johnson Way.