BUDGET supermarket chain Aldi is aiming to expand its empire into the west of the town after unveiling plans to build its fourth store in Swindon.
The award-winning German retailer, and its development partner Picton, have revealed they have designs on a disused office block at Westlea Campus, opposite the Spectrum Building in Mead Way.
The plans include developing a new neighbourhood food store as part of a larger mixed-use redevelopment of the vacant site, which will also see up to 70 new homes built, 30 per cent of which will be affordable. The new store is expected to serve a catchment area of 20,000 potential customers.
Aldi has already invested heavily in the town, plunging £35m into its 560,000 sq ft regional distribution centre and head office at South Marston Park, while opening stores in Hobley Drive, Drove Road and Latham Road. The firm has said it wants to achieve a network of seven stores throughout Swindon.
Ben Shotter, property director of Aldi Swindon, 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.
“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.”
Built in the 1980s, the Westlea Office Campus has become obsolete and is now vacant. The owner of the site, Picton, believes there is insufficient demand to justify the costs of refurbishing the complex to modern office standards.
Jay Cable, the head of asset management for Picton Capital. “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.”
Coun Keith Williams (Con, Shaw) said: “We have been given assurances that the amount of vehicle traffic would be comparable to that of a working office block and we will have to wait to see the detailed proposals and impact assessments they bring forward.”
A public exhibition on the plans is being held between 3pm and 7pm on Thursday at the Link Centre Library.
Aldi and Picton are intending to submit a planning application for the redevelopment of the Westlea Campus in spring.
Kevin Fisher, of the Shaw Residents’ Association, 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.
“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 would like to see the planned number reduced substantially in favour of a store car park with 20 per cent more spaces than Aldi would normally provide for such a facility together with a robust and fit for purpose access road design.”