Public victory for Aldi could cause slump for Tesco

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Plans to build an Aldi supermarket in Wolverton prompted a major Bank Holiday Monday demo from residents.

But, far from lodging the usual protest, the savvy shoppers were saying a resounding YES to Aldi coming to town.

In a trading places-type twist, it is the authorities who are complaining and the residents who are campaigning.

Hundreds of shoppers have signed a petition saying an old car showroom site at the top of Stratford Road would be a perfect site for cut-price Aldi.

Others have started a Facebook page We Want Aldi for Wolverton.

On Monday the campaigners braved the rain to demonstrate with Yes to Aldi banners at the site.

“The strength of feeling for the plans is enormous,” said James Anderson who works for Turley, the planning consultants engaged by Aldi.

But Milton Keynes Council officials are less enthusiastic. They have already forked out for a Retail Impact Assessment, fearing a bargain supermarket might impact on the town’s existing Tesco, Asda and Co-op.

They are also worried the Stratford Road venue, which is almost opposite Radcliffe School, would lead to traffic congestion on an already busy part of Wolverton.

They asked Aldi to look into alternative sites such as the redundant Agora building or the former railway works.

Other suggested sites are Cofferidge Close in nearby Stony Stratford and even the former Waitrose or Sainsbury’s stores in the food centre at thecentre:mk.

But Turley’s, representing Aldi, say none is these areas would be as suitable as the former car showrooms.

They say the new store, sited at the opposite end of Wolverton to Asda and Tesco, would serve hundreds of recently-built new homes.

Councillors will consider the application this autumn.

Aldi planning consultants estimate an annual turnover of £6.23 million for the the store.

The experts anticipate 50 per cent of the turnover will be drawn from nearby Tesco.

They say another 10 per cent would come from Asda, while two per cent of Co-op customers and 1.3 per cent of Farmfoods would defect.

But the council’s consultants are sceptical and say there is nothing to officially prove how these trade draws have been calculated.