TDWGRA LongHeader4

Search - Issues
Search - Articles and Content
Search - Documents

Aldi Consultation graphic

Aldi's appeal against Elmbridge Council's refusal of planning permission for its proposed Thames Ditton foodstore on the Guy Salmon Portsmouth Road site has been turned down by the Planning Inspector

Following a long and detailed Appeal Inquiry, the Planning Inspectorate have announced their Inspector's decision. This was to dismiss the Appeal and uphold the Council’s decision to refuse permission.

The Inspector agreed with two of the reasons for refusal, namely the effect on the Conservation Area and the setting of the Grade ll listed Angel pub and the adverse impact on two houses in Westville Road at the rear of the site. Part of the summary of the lengthy Inspector’s decision is shown below:

The proposed development would have an adverse effect on the character and appearance of the surrounding area and would fail to preserve the setting of both the listed Angel Inn and the CA. It would also have an unacceptable overbearing impact on occupiers of 36 and 38 Westville Road.

The Inspector considered that there could be some benefits to the foodstore, however these were considered to be limited and not as substantial as claimed by Aldi in its appeal. As such they were outweighed by the disadvantages.

The TD & WG Residents' Association welcomes this decision, but we appreciate that this has been a divisive issue in the community. While a lot of people favoured having a local Aldi store, the overriding view of those living closest to, and who would be most affected by such a store, was against it. Our analysis showed that supporters tended to live further afield.

The RA represents the interests of local residents and businesses. On major proposals such as this, a unanimous view, if not unknown must be exceptionally unlikely. The RA could of course have not taken any action – but that, implicitly, would send its own message to local residents. Though residents' views varied, the responses to the planning consultation indicated there was a very clear majority of local residents who had serious concerns about its potential impact, particularly:

  • the traffic it would generate,
  • the potential of a supermarket to threaten the viability and vitality of the high street shops,
  • the impact on Giggs Hill Green and the character of the Conservation Area,
  • the consequences of the loss of the cycle lane in both directions in the vicinity of the store,
  • the small size of the car park and the resulting impact on parking in near by residential roads,
  • the impact on neighbouring residents, particularly in Rythe Court and Westville Road, of noise, light pollution, disturbance etc from deliveries and operating hours 7 days a week, from early morning to until well into the evening etc.

Not to mention the accepted need for any available brown field sites to be used for housing in order to protect the integrity of the Green Belt.

The RA’s objection was not to an Aldi as such (we are well aware of the popularity of nearby Aldi and Lidl stores with local residents), but to the development of a busy supermarket with extended opening hours in this particular, out of town, stand alone, residential location.

We are grateful to the many residents who contributed to the funding needed to cover the legal fees for our Appeal Inquiry representation, and to those whose input contributed greatly to the successful outcome.

Click here to download the Planning Inspector's Appeal Decision report.