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Plans for Lidl supermarket in Dartford left on the shelf
A SUPERMARKET has been refused permission to build in Dartford over concerns it would damage the business of high street traders.
Low-cost retailer Lidl’s application to build on the 1502 square-metre former Dartford Police Station site in Instore Road was rejected by Dartford Council’s development control board on Thursday (April 19).
Officers had recommended refusal on the grounds the supermarket would be on the edge of the town centre and would "result in a draw of trade from shops that are located within the town centre boundary".
They said the introduction of another supermarket taking people away from the town centre would lead to a "loss of individuality" and a "reduction in the diversity" of the town centre.
In a report, the officers said: "The major stores may continue trading with some loss of trade but smaller independent stores and market stalls will become more seriously affected by small shifts in trade and become unviable."
Dartford Town Centre Partnership’s chairman, Bob Heasman, said: "I think the decision was quite right in the context of the Town Centre Plan.
"The concentration of the retail should be in the town centre rather than on the outskirts of the town."
Planning permission was granted for 57 homes in June 2010, but Lidl bought the plot last February and then demolished the police station.
There were 49 letters of support for the plans and a petition which attracted 346 signatures, while the council received only one letter of objection.
Those supporting the development argued it would boost the town, bring welcome competition and create jobs.
Dartford MP Gareth Johnson said: "I can understand this decision. Improving Dartford town centre is going to take time and a number of difficult decisions will need to be made to ensure the town centre prospers.
"I am optimistic about the future of the town centre but it is going to take time to achieve all that we want.
"Central Park is looking fantastic and we now need to redevelop the rest of the town."