So what did the town council say about Aldi … precisely nothing.
I don’t think that a planning application has so far been submitted but with a Aldi have posted a prospectus to every household in the town one would expect the local council to be alive to the issue. However, at the last council meeting there was no mention that the new Aldi store has the potential to increase traffic in all the roads leading to the A6 island – no mention that the car parking capacity in the town would be further stretched because the current 2 hour permitted stay in the B&M car park would be cut back to 1½ hours because Aldi employs a company that fines customers who stay longer than 90 minutes. Check out this link to an article in the Guardian: Aldi fines motorist £70. This will increase the likelihood of shoppers being fined, as happened to this Belper shopper in 2013: B&M fine shopper £60 – link to facebook.
Aldi are stating that their new store will be complementary to other town shops suggesting that you can buy items in Aldi then go elsewhere to continue your shopping. It would seem that the more restrictive Aldi car parking policy will result in less chance to use other supermarkets and shops in the same visit.
What should the council have done?
- Asked Aldi for their estimate of the number of shoppers they expect will visit the store.
- Asked Aldi to state how long shoppers will be allowed to park before they are hit with a fine.
- If Aldi stated that their 90 minute rule will apply then the town council should have made an assessment on the likely impact on the town’s car parking capability, factoring in any possible increase of shoppers in the town who choose to visit the Aldi store.
- Lobbied Aldi to adopt the B&M 2 hour parking limit but, if they insisted on 90 minutes, assessed the possible impact on existing town businesses of this change.
But the main question that the Town Council must answer is this:
Why do they find the County Council proposal on Derwent Street to be unacceptable but have no problem with a new shop? Why is it ok to clog up the A6 roundabout with Aldi shoppers but not ok that a lesser number of cars use the same route to access the library and elderly care facility?
BelperStuff has no opinion about the proposed Aldi store. It seems to be a popular development according to the 6 people that BelperStuff straw polled but not one of them knew about the possible parking restrictions or commented about increased traffic. You can find the Belper News Aldi article via this link. Who knows the Town Council may have been in negotiation with Aldi and the Amber Valley Borough planning department to make sure that we do not end up with the “gridlock” that they claimed would be caused by the DCC Derwent Street development, ensuring that the Aldi store would not cause similar chaos.
By John Porter