A NEW bigger and better Aldi store is set to open in Southend after a relocation plan was approved.

The Aldi store on Eastern Avenue will relocate to a new site on Priory Close which will be about 20 per cent bigger than the current store and cover the same area as about a dozen tennis courts.

New jobs are also expected to be created by the move but the number has not been confirmed.

The application was discussed by the council’s planning committee on Wednesday.

Ward member David McGlone labelled the new store “an asset to the community”.

He said: “The Aldi representatives were keen to remain in the current vicinity and to communicate and participate in the community.

“For our part, ward councillors are supportive of the store remaining in the area to provide a retail service and I believe there are advantages in having a larger shopping area and extra parking facilities.”

The store will be built close to the Ekco Park homes development near The Saxon King pub and the new multimillion pound Havens Hospice.

The 231 home development from Bellway is being built and several of the homes have already been sold.

While some residents have raised concerns about the increase in traffic, planning officers have said the impact will be “modest” and the new store “is not expected to materially affect local road safety”.

A council assessment indicates the larger store will lead to an additional 70 vehicle trips each week.

Included in the planning application was a transport assessment that proposes all vehicles access the site by a priority junction, with a right turn lane on Priory Crescent. For vehicles leaving the site, it will be left turn-only.

Conservative councillor Chris Walker suggested this be amended so that there is no right turn into or out of the site.

He said: “Frankly I think it is dangerous if you have a slightly damp road and someone just not quite getting across into the lane and you will see people shot in all directions with large lorries.

“I would propose left in, left out.”

Councillors rejected the amendment and unanimously approved the scheme.

The new store will also be a modernised version of its predecessor nearby and is part of an expansion programme.