ALDI bosses will be hoping that their plans for a new supermarket in Bristol Road will get the go-ahead at a meeting of councillors on Tuesday.
The cut-price German supermarket is eyeing up a site on the corner of Bristol Road and Clifton Road, near to the former Morelands match factory.
Gloucester City Council’s planning committee will decide the fate of the 1,680 sq m planned store next week.
A spokesman for Aldi said that it would offer ‘something different’ for a part of the city which does not currently have a large supermarket – although the site is less than half a mile from Sainsbury's at St Ann Way and Tesco Express in Bristol Road.
They said: “We offer something different to convenience stores and do not see ourselves competing with these types of shops.”
The nearest rival to the supermarket would be Lidl, further down Bristol Road in Canada Wharf, although nearby convenience store Griffin’s Friendly Corner Shop fear it will impact on their business.
The plans have polarised people who live near the store – with a 577-strong petition and 58 individual letters being sent to councillors.
Supporters say that the store would benefit the Stroud Road and Bristol Road community, the site has been an eyesore for more than 20 years and the cost of shopping at Aldi is attractive in a time when people are hard-pressed.
People also want to see new jobs created, although it is currently unclear how many might be created.
Those against the plans say they will affect trade for other businesses and there is no proven need for a new supermarket in the area.
Town crier Alan Myatt has come out in support of Griffin’s Friendly Corner Shop, which is just 150 metres from the proposed Aldi.
There are fears that the new supermarket could hit trade at the popular convenience store, which has been run for five generations of the family.
Mr Myatt, speaking in a personal capacity, said: “The Griffin’s Friendly Corner Shop has been a lifeblood of the community for generations.
“The jam will only spread so thinly in this area and it is important that we protect our family-run businesses as they are part of our city’s heritage.”
Residents have shown their support for the convenience store. Janet Weston said: “Even though there is a local Tesco Express and Lidl close by, it is very sad that there has to be yet another big store going up putting the small businesses at risk. Last year I believe Griffin’s celebrated 100 years of trade and I have shopped there for over 30 years. There is nothing that hurts me more then to see someone lose their business to big companies like Aldi.”
Jalaal Patel, from Stroud Road, said: “There are too many supermarkets and grocery store in Gloucester. What happened to protecting local small businesses such as corner shops? Has Gloucester gone corporate mad?”
But planning officers are recommending that councillors approve Aldi’s store vision.
In a report to councillors, Bob Rustic, planning officer at Gloucester City Council, said: “The application has been met by considerable objection and petitions on behalf of Griffin’s Corner Shop. The concerns relate to the possible impact upon this convenience store, which appears to be well supported by the community. In planning terms it should be noted that this property is itself located outside of a local centre and is not afforded any protection.”
Supermarket bosses also have to prove that their new Aldi store will not impact on other areas such as the proposed Kings Quarter regeneration site.
Planning officers at Gloucester City Council have concluded that it will not have an impact because only one small food store is planning for Kings Quarter.
In a report they said: “We conclude that there is unlikely to be a suitable opportunity within the development to accommodate an Aldi store.”
Aldi said they had ruled out moving into the former Marks and Spencer store, in Northgate Street, because it was too big and delivery access was poor – but planning officers do not agree with that argument because M&S formerly sold food from the site.
Alternative sites at Blackfriars and Barton Street were also ruled out as possible locations for Aldi to move to.
The supermarket already has a store on Bristol Road, in Quedgeley.