A budget supermarket chain has stumped up £1million to try and push through foiled plans to build a store in Eastwood.
Despite having planning permission rejected twice for a supermarket on the corner of Progress Road and Rayleigh Road, Lidl has bought the site for £1.1million, the Echo can reveal.
Approval has been granted for a mini business park on the site – the former Safestore – but the consortium behind it said it can’t progress its plans after the chain “steamrollered” the landowner with cash.
Southend Council planners twice rejected Lidl’s plans because of the look of the building but it hasn’t deterred the supermarket giant.
Clive Lucas, who represents the consortium that wanted to bring a 15-unit industrial park to the site, said: “I’m very disappointed that our scheme will not progress now because of a big retailer steamrolling their way in with cash.
“We can’t compete with them financially and it looks like they will keep plugging and plugging away until they get approval.
“It opens the door to having more industrial warehouses turned into retail sites.”
Under previous proposals, Lidl wanted to replace the derelict former Safestore warehouse and part of Essex Timber and Plywood’s neighbouring yard, creating 40 jobs.
But it would have meant the closure of the timber yard with the loss of 14 jobs.
Lidl has had its plans turned down at Southend Council’s planning committee, and then appealed the decision, last year.
However, the firm withdrew the appeal and slapped in a revised proposal in April. Councillor narrowly turned down the re-drawn plans, which include office space to overcome the previous objection to the loss of land meant for employment, with councillors concerned the store would not be keeping in with the area.
A spokesman for the site’s previous owners, Safestore, said: “In Southend, we operate out of a purpose built new store.
“We are pleased to have completed the unconditional sale of the site of the previous store to Lidl for £1.1m.”