Supermarket operator Aldi and development partner Picton have unveiled plans to develop a new local foodstore at Westlea Campus in West Swindon.
The German chain ‘s fourth store in the town would be part of a mixed-use redevelopment and includes 70 houses, 30 per cent of which will be affordable, plus car parking and landscaping.
The Westlea Office campus, built in the 1980s, pictured above and below has been unused for several years, and is currently accessed from Chelmsford Road, off Shaw Road, and Mead Way.
The developers say it is obsolete and a new purpose is required for the site. However residents are worried that building more houses in an already heavily built up area is likely to add to the traffic congestion on the roads whilst expressing concern that the number of car parking spaces could prove inadequate.
Ben Shotter, Aldi property director who is leading the redevelopment of the site said: “Aldi’s Regional Distribution Centre is located in the town which employs approximately 500 people with the creation of an additional 250 jobs expected over the next 12 months.
"Our business is going from strength to strength and we are expanding on the back of strong customer demand. We currently have three Aldi stores in Swindon and are searching for more sites in the town for our customers. The Westlea Campus site is perfect for a new Aldi store. It’s in a great location and will allow us to bring our unique proposition to West Swindon – an area where we are currently under-represented.”
Kevin Fisher, chair of Shaw Residents’ Association, left, believes that the plans must be closely looked as he is concerned that too many houses are being proposed for the site. He said: “Whilst we agree with the benefits of developing a currently unused brownfield site and welcome the new jobs the store will bring, we are concerned about the loss of business land to yet more housing in West Swindon and the impact this will have on our already over capacity roads.
"It is a well placed site, central to a very large suburban area, which will attract a large number of car drivers. We are particularly concerned about road access to the store and the impact to surrounding areas at peak times should the stores car park overflow.
"To mitigate these concerns – and if more houses must be built – we want to see the proposed number of houses reduced substantially in favour of a store car park with 20 per cent more spaces than Aldi would normally provide for such a facility. We must also see a robust and fit for purpose access road design”
Jay Cable, the Head of Asset Management for Picton Capital, commented: “The market has demonstrated that there simply isn’t the demand in Swindon for the large-scale office accommodation that the Westlea Campus offers.
"We want to bring the site back into use and are proposing a high-quality mixed-use development in its place. I am proud of what we have created and I am looking forward to showing the plans to local people and getting their feedback on what we propose.”
A public exhibition on the plans is being held between Thursday 13 February, 3pm to 7pm, in the West Swindon Library at the Link Centre Library.
The development team will be on hand to explain the plans and feedback forms will be available for registering comments on the proposals.
Aldi and Picton are intending to submit a planning application for the redevelopment of the site, pictured above opposite the Spectrum building, in Spring 2014.