EXCLUSIVE: Lidl coming to Nailsea as part of £10 million investment

Profile image for Carol_Deacon

By Carol_Deacon | Wednesday, November 21, 2012, 19:57

A massive £10 million investment for Nailsea including a new discount supermarket was revealed at a traders meeting this week by the town centre landlords.

The new Lidl store together with a small single-storey retail unit on the old petrol filling site would face Stockway South and create 50 jobs for the town, said Ellandi partner Mark Robinson, the management company for Crown Glass Shopping Centre.

Mr Robinson said he very much hoped Majestic wine company will move into the new single-story unit and other specialist businesses would take the opportunity of low costs rents being offered on the empty smaller units at Collier's Walk.

Mr Robinson said: "All this will put Nailsea in the position of a 'go to' place."

However, Nailsea would lose 67 car parking spaces at Stockway South and half a dozen protected trees if the proposals go ahead.

The entrance to the main car park would change with a smaller 12 spaces on a roundabout between the pizza takeway and wine shop.

The old boarded-up Sycamore House care home will be redeveloped into a smart warden-controlled complex for the elderly and its green space in front will become an enhanced amenity area planted with additional saplings to replace those lost by the new development.

The proposed Lidl at 15,000 sq ft will be more than twice the size of the Iceland store at 7,000 sq ft but will be dwarfed by the Waitrose and Tesco supermarkets which are both approximately 45,000 sq ft.

A detailed planning application is likely to be submitted to North Somerset Council in the spring next year and if given the go-ahead the project is likely to be completed within 12-18 months.

The declining economic situation scuttled a previous plan of attracting Sainsbury's to Nailsea and building at the end of Christ Church Close where the library and deserted Weston College complex stand. 

More than 50 community leaders and business people attended the Tuesday open evening to hear about the plans which were prompted by a Mary Portas-style report commissioned earlier this year.

Under the umbrella of Team Nailsea – made up of the chamber of trade and commerce, shopping centre bosses and the town council - research group AMT-i was appointed to carry out a survey to see what action can be taken to bolster trade.

People using the town centre said the number of charity shops needed to be reduced, empty shops filled and the variety of shops increased as well as the physical appearance of the main shopping area enhanced.

They concluded the continuation of free car parking in the centre was essential to keep trade alive.

Nailsea Town Council chairman Rod Lees said: "This has got to be good for the whole town - it is fantastic."

North Somerset councillor Jeremy Blatchford said he knew many high-flyers who were choosing to swap the city to move to Nailsea for a better lifestyle.

He said: "Nailsea is an exciting place to live and shop and with this investment we are seeing a vision being delivered."

The open evening was hosted at Sion House which Ellandi had just finished upgrading at a cost of more than £250,000.

The distinctive blue four-storey building which was built more than a quarter of a century ago has been fitted with new double glazed windows, upgraded reception area and staircases, improved staff facilities to include a ground floor shower and cycle racks, new toilet furnishings on all floors, improved energy efficient lighting and a new lift.

Since the refit letting agent Ian Thompson, of Thompson Commercial has successfully found tenants for most of the office suites, said Mr Robinson.

He added: "The image and branding of the shopping centre is well overdue for a refresh and that's something we are going to bring forward in the new year.

"We are keen that the shopping centre isn't seen as separate from the High Street and other retail areas of the town.

"Nailsea is one of the best performing towns in our group and every single new national retailer has decided to stay - they are all making money which doesn't happen in a lot of places.

"We will be delighted to foster specialist new businesses rent free if someone wants to open a butcher's, artisan bakers or a deli which will add to a vibrant shopping centre."

Nailsea Chamber of Trade and Commerce chairman Janet Hendey spoke about the combined effort to stop car parking charges being introduced in the town and the diverse make up of the chamber which includes representatives of multi-nationals, small businesses, retailers and those from professional services including both medical centres in the town.

Mrs Hendey, a partner at Wards solicitors said: "It is very good news for Nailsea that the shopping centre owners see it as a town worth investing in with a positive future; the proposed new development will bring a considerable amount of new employment to the town which will benefit everyone in the long run."

Mr Thompson said: "Retailers like Waitrose, WH Smith and Wetherspoons who have all opened in the past 18 months tell me they are all trading above expectations."

Crown Glass Shopping Centre has a total of 90,000 sq ft of retail space divided into 40 separate shops, a further 40,000 sq ft of office space in various buildings and 40 flats.

At this time only four shops are available to let as a further three vacant units are still leased to William Hill, Peacocks and Going Places



  • Profile image for Nailsea1965

    This is just another example of a 'hope for the best' thrown together scheme by people who don't live in Nailsea. The fact that there is no need for a Lidl and it will be a complete eyesore seems to have been ignored. The loss of the parking spaces will kill what little trade the retailers in the precinct still have.
    If we must have such a poor retailer as Lidl inflicted on us put it in the Clevedon road car park where the impact will be minimal. As for the rest of Crown Glass place and the high street you would think that the lesson of not meddling would have been learned! You only have to look back twenty five years to see Nailsea was a much better place for shoppers and retailers alike.

    By Nailsea1965 at 14:04 on 06/12/12

  • Profile image for Greentrees

    I feel strongly that the loss of 67 ca parking spaces is detrimental to ailsea. If Lidl wants to come they should use the vacant retail spaces that are empty.

    By Greentrees at 08:34 on 30/11/12

  • Profile image for fme2005

    I don't see that Nailsea needs yet another supermarket, and certainly not at the expense of all these car parking spaces. Where are LIDL customers supposed to park? beyond Waitrose?

    More importantly where are Medical centre visitors going to park? Christ Church visitors? Library visitors?

    The fundamental problem is that the Nailsea shopping centre is too spread out from Domino's pizza through to TESCO. The centre should be redesigned with the smaller shops condensed closer together (eliminating empty ones) and then space could be released centrally for residential development.

    The Crown Glass centre is an ugly eyesore that should be taken down.

    By fme2005 at 16:22 on 26/11/12

  • Profile image for edd1cam

    This seems like a welcome development, however, I cannot see the loss of 67 car parking spaces from a well-used car park as beneficial. This is especially so as this car park serves the Tower House medical centre. The AMT-i report concluded that the retention of free parking was essential to maintaining trade, but I'm sure, if asked, they would also conclude that retention of parking numbers is equally essential. The advent of Lidl on the site, of course, only increases the competition for the remaining parking spaces. Many of the current users of this car park are unwell or have age-related or mobility problems and I don't just mean the ones with "blue badges". Are they really to be expected to compete for fewer spaces? Will this not totally disrupt the appointment system in the medical centre?
    Why could Lidl not simply be built over the old Weston College footprint thereby not reducing the present parking availability? If it was, at one time, deemed sufficient for Sainsburys, then why not Lidl?

    How are lorries resupplying Lidl going to operate in this location?
    It seems to me that access to the car park side of the store will be difficult for a vehicle of any size, since it will be restricted by cars in the remaining parking spaces, and more importantly, the vehicles trying to park. Will we have trucks for Lidl, the wine store and Wetherspoons lined up along Stockway South?

    Mr Robinson says they are keen that the centre is not seen as separate from the High Street, but this proposal does nothing to support this. Perhaps they should look to build over one of the other car parks?

    Finally, what does Iceland think of plans for a Lidl twice their size?

    PS: I'm sure people who answered the survey were not calling for fewer charity shops. This is a distortion of their feedback. Really what they meant was that they would like to see charity shops reduced as a proportion of the overall number of shops available. You do this by attracting and encouraging new retail shops, not by closing charities. If they'd been given the option they would also have concluded that they prefer an open charity shop to an empty property of which there are still too many. Their perception is also coloured by the town's inability to revitalise the High Street upon which are four of the six charity shops making them rather prominent.

    By edd1cam at 13:28 on 26/11/12

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