Aldi responds over mural controversy amid plans for new supermarket in Milton Keynes

A giant ceramic mural of bicycles could put a spoke in the works of a bid to build a new Adli supermarket in Milton Keynes.

The 16 metre long design at Stantonbury Local Centre is made from 1,200 tiles.

Aldi has got the green light from Central Beds Council

Aldi has got the green light from Central Beds Council

It was painstakingly created by artist John Watson in 1978 and has become a local landmark.

But the building, close to Stantonbury International School, is now empty of shops and Aldi has applied for planning permission to demolish it to build a state-of-the-art store.

This has prompted a race against time by MK’s Public Arts Trust to get the mural official listed and preserved by Historic England.

“The plans Aldi are putting forward are nothing other than a slap in the face for Stantonbury and MK citizens. “Aldi are showing no sensitivity to the site.” said arts trust spokesman Ian Mitchie."

A site of local significance could be lost

A site of local significance could be lost

Aldi bosses have told protestors they will have the mural removed, tile by tile, and reassembled somewhere on the new store.

But ceramic experts say this would be impossible due to the age a fragility of the tiles.

“It would end up destroyed. The only solution we will accept is for the original mural wall to be left intact and incorporated in the design of the new store,” said Ian.

“Unfortunately Aldi is not willing to consider that,” he added.

The mural

The mural

The building, ironically, is owned by Sainsbury’s. They submitted a planning application around 10 years ago to build a large store there. But it was refused by Milton Keynes Council.

Aldi has now responded on the issue saying it will bring 'much-needed investment to the area'.

“We believe a new Aldi will bring much-needed investment to Stantonbury, reversing the commercial decline of the local centre, creating up to 40 new jobs and making it easier for residents to shop and save closer to home," a spokesman for Aldi said.

"As part of our application to create a store on this site, we are working with both Stantonbury Parish Council and MK Council to explore if the mural can be relocated within the local area and preserved for the community.”

The mural up close

The mural up close