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Mixed views on new store plan
A NEW Aldi store in West Swindon could create 30 new jobs for the area along with around 70 new homes.
Designs for the expansion of the budget brand supermarket into Westlea were put on show at the Link Centre yesterday where residents were largely in favour of the project.
The German retailer, which has a distribution centre in South Marston, is looking to renovate the disused Westlea Campus site opposite the Spectrum building.
“Swindon is a town very close to our hearts,” said property director for Aldi, Ben Shotton.
“We currently have three sites that do incredibly well, but we do not currently have a catchment in West Swindon.
“The store itself will employ around 30 people. Of those two or three will be full time and the rest will be part time, but with standard contracts of 25 hours a week. None will be minimum wage.
“We are hoping to be open from 8am to 9pm on Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sundays.”
Concerns have been raised about traffic flow and parking allocation for the store, which will be the already congested Mead Way.
“There will be a much bigger parking allocation than the other stores,” said Ben.
“I think the comments about traffic and parking are fair and we need to respond to them.
“Our Drove Road store is often cited as being incredibly busy, and while that site has 76 parking spaces, this store will have 104, so about 30 per cent more volume.
“One thing about this location is it links very well with residential populations, so we would hope for more walk-in customers.
“Based on the feedback we have had over parking needs we aligned our plan to get seven or eight more spaces in. On average we provide 80 parking spaces for each store, but for this location we added 20 per cent and then went up again.”
The retailer hopes to have planning permission granted by the summer and to move into the store by the end of the year.
“We are a very different offer to the mainstream food retailers,” Ben said. “People spend 30 to 40 per cent lower with us than other mainstream competitors.
“We are also going to be putting £30,000 towards West Swindon traffic improvement measures, which is on top of other section 106 money, including a substantial amount for the new housing.”
Residents were divided about the implications of another supermarket in West Swindon.
Betty McLaughlin, 75 of Sharp Close, said she loved the idea. “I am all for it,” she said. “I only live across the road and we go to the Aldi up north at the moment. We shop there because it is cheapest.
“Nobody can argue with 30 new jobs, and that will be great for the kids who are out of work.
“Considering what has been there before there should be no issue with the traffic.
“It will cut down our fuel bill for one thing, and bring down the amount of traffic on Thamesdown Drive.”
But Anne Evans, 61, of Westlea, said:“I have got no objections, but the roads are already so congested up there.
“It is a nightmare to get in and out of our street already.
“There are so many supermarkets now it is just silly.
“We have got Lidl just down the road as well as a Sainsburys and Asda. There is already an Aldi in the north people can go to.
“But you can’t beat them on price, and that is very important.”