Murky Depths

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Erith, Retail

Lidl back with plans for Erith store

Large retail sheds without mixed-use

Lidl are back with another application to open a new store in Erith on Fraser Road.

They previously submitted plans back in early 2018 which were refused by Bexley Council in April 2019. One reason given was retail sheds should only be non-retail but nothing about ensuring mixed-use development.

Courtesy Google

Differences this time from Lidl include a 20-place reduction in car parking from 111 to 91 and slight alterations to the building.

Click to enlarge. Lidl plans a grey box

The company have not included new homes above a new store despite recently claiming they were looking to build 3,000 new homes above new shops in mixed-use developments across the country.

Site is pretty close to Erith station with frequent trains to central London and Kent

Bexley has high targets for new homes under the new Growth Strategy. If the authority isn’t pushing for homes on brownfield sites (near good public transport links to boot) then greenery will be built on. Just last month we saw new plans to build on greenery in Erith.

That and converting existing family homes into bedsits and Homes of Multiple Occupation.

Image Courtesy Google. New Lidl store with homes in Stockwell

Protecting a Screwfix, for example, from becoming mixed-use would be bizarre at such a time. Companies like Toolstation are already opening in mixed-use developments. Very few businesses cannot be accommodated within such a model – and those that cannot could be located in areas where housing really isn’t suitable.

It is disruptive to business so adequate compensation is needed – but if we are to see new homes built and greenery protected it needs doing.

What Lidl do elsewhere

I know I always do this when Lidl come along with another big retail shed but let’s look at what they do elsewhere in London and the south east. We don’t have to go far.

Just south in Bromley borough is a Lidl recently built in West Wickham with new homes above a new store. Customer and residential parking is located below homes; a far more efficient use of land.

Courtesy Google

And here’s one planned over in Richmond:

New Lidl store with homes in Richmond

With this model Lidl have the same retail space, the same number of parking spaces yet homes are provided. This model also permits expansion on some sites with land retained to the rear.

In Bexley borough they’ve often been building wasteful retail sheds – often in town centres such as Welling and Bexleyheath to name but two – while the authority frets about housing and sees plans in for building on greenery as it does not push nor have sufficient strategies in place to encourage mixed-use development. It makes no sense. In Belvedere they have opened a store below housing. That’s the way forward.

 

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5 Comments

  1. Jo

    This particular site not being designated for residential use raises a wider issue about why so much industrial land is located near or next to stations. Erith is a very good case in point.

    Across London much industrial land was built quickly in the 60s and 70s next to stations when trains sidings were removed. Most stations had sidings for goods transport. London was also depopulating and people encouraged to move out in new towns. Next to none of the industry located beside stations now use the railway but people do to commute – yet live far from stations or even in London in many cases. And that’s not all through choice.

    As commuting and city populations have again increased much industrial land directly beside stations should now alter usage to residential with mixed use. Locate industry, scrapyards and the like in areas where housing is not desirable nor near public transport nodes.

    We can house large numbers of people by changing areas around every station thus rather than ever more urban sprawl, traffic, congestion and stress with people having such long commutes we can have better planned cities.

    Bexley need to get on this and Greenwich council too. Well, most authorities do. Even under new planning strategies they want to protect some sites that could, and should, see much new housing within new developments incorporating other types of usage.

    We have so long to go and everyone is suffering from busier roads and trains with people travelling long distances. That and the green belt is built on as are local parks like in Old Farm in Bexley.

  2. fromthemurkydepths

    Erith could see a new station entrance to the south if housing were built. A big plot is currently a yard for old cars : https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4818692,0.1737549,3a,75y,69.68h,83.22t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sLrSXDOOD-_GkTVYniYOsgg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

    Ensuring Thameslink trains stop at Erith station and extend all Southeastern services to 12-car through new stock would see a big increase in rail capacity to cater for the increase.

  3. This application should fail on the same grounds as before should be mixed use development. Cannot understand why Lidl would do this. It works very well in Belvedere.

  4. Szymon

    I hope this will get refused again. They should not be allowed to built it without flats above.
    It is 5min walk from Erith station and we are wasting such locations on metal shed of a supermarket. Please Bexley think again and refuse it again until Lidl comes back with a proper plans for this site. BTW we already have Lidl in Belvedere, some 2 miles away so some other brand of supermarket would be more welcome for the sake of variety.

    • fromthemurkydepths

      Ideally Lidl should push though they are dealing with Bexley Council’s land designation. Lidl have been slow to embrace mixed-use in many places (though not all) so both probably a bit at fault. Bexley for not ensuring land use is suitable and perhaps Lidl happy with the usual box.

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