Petrol station to be demolished in Lees

A NEW extended supermarket in Lees will see the creation of new jobs and will make the site viable.

Giants Aldi have applied to Oldham Council to revamp the Co-Op Food store, demolishing the petrol station and making the building bigger.

And they believe it will not only breathe new life into the site, on Athens Way, but also help regenerate the surrounding area.

The former petrol station earmarked for demolition. Photo by Saddleworth Independent

It would also create up to 50 full and part-time local jobs and various others, like in construction or working in the supply chain, support.

According to documents supporting Aldi’s application: “It is evident that the redevelopment of the site has the potential to bring about significant economic, environmental and visual improvements by replacing what was likely an unviable foodstore and petrol station with a, modern, viable, discount foodstore.

“Such development will improve the visual appearance of this prominent site and increase its levels of use, to the overall benefit of the surrounding area.”

Supermarket giants Aldi will be moving into the store at Lees. Photo by Saddleworth Independent

The deal to sell the Co-Op store is part of a wider policy of the chain disposing of many of its larger stores and petrol stations to focus on smaller convenience stores.

And the adjoining Texaco petrol filling station closed at the beginning of October, with the Co-op Food store shutting on November 5.

But Aldi is moving quickly to try and give Lees a store it wants – and it feels residents need. It also believes having that will help other businesses.

The site is now fenced off. Photo by Saddleworth Independent

They add: “The significant investment proposed by Aldi provides the opportunity for the site to be brought back into beneficial use.

“The proposed development will provide a modernised, accessible discount foodstore which is proportionate to the needs of Lees’ residents.

“Retaining and repurposing the existing foodstore building on the site evidently represents the most sustainable option for its redevelopment.

“Replacement of the former Co-op with a new foodstore on the site is particularly important for the local community.

The former Co-op store in Lees. Photo by Saddleworth Independent

“The Co-op fulfilled a role as an important anchor store for Lees District Centre and provided the only supermarket in Lees.

“The development proposals will provide local residents with a much-needed ‘main’ food shopping destination to replace the Co-op and retain the existing benefits this store brings to the district centre and wider area.

“It will reduce the need for residents to travel to meet their food shopping needs, whilst also enhancing competition within the wider food retail sector and consumer choice through the provision of a discount food offer that is not currently available within the Lees area.

Plans are awaiting approval by Oldham Council. Photo by Saddleworth Independent

“The proposed Aldi foodstore will function as part of the wider district centre, delivering a range of spin-off benefits, generating linked trips and footfall to other shops and services in Lees District Centre and supporting the overall vitality and viability of the centre during what remains a challenging period for the retail sector.”

If given permission, Aldi is likely to be open from 8am until 11pm Monday-Saturday and from 10am until 4pm on Sunday.

The chain also delivered a message to Oldham Council’s planning chiefs – we will not build a blight on the local area and bring benefits.

They said: “The proposed Aldi discount foodstore will represent a high-quality development and will promote a contemporary design using an appropriate materials palate which also respects the site’s edge-of-centre context, to the benefit of the local and wider environment.”

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