Lidl plans will mean "unacceptable loss of amenity"

Lidl’s plans to build a new food store on Boston Road in Horncastle have been met by mixed reviews.

Boston Road Service Station.
Boston Road Service Station.

Last month, the Horncastle News reported that Lidl has announced plans that a new 1,411sqm store, with 117 car parking spaces and two rapid electric vehicle charging spaces, would be built on the site of Boston Road Service Station.

But the plans have drawn some criticism for the loss to the community of the three longstanding businesses on the site – Boston Road Service Station, East Coast Motors and Burton Autos – as well as the loss of one of the town’s only two petrol stations, with another on the A158 and another at Coningsby – plus the close proximity of the site to the planned Aldi on Spilsby Lane.

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At their recent planning and development committee meeting, Horncastle Town Council said that “the applicant should include a replacement filling station as part of its plan, as this would represent an unacceptable loss of amenity to the town.”Duncan Burton, 64, of Burton Autos which operates from the site behind Boston Road Service Station, said that all of the feedback he has heard from people about Lidl’s plans all comes back to the same question – “why?"

Mr Burton, who will have operated his business for 30 years in July 2022, said: “Everybody has said the same thing – why? Why does the town need two mega supermarkets competing with each other?”

He said that he is concerned that the loss of Boston Road’s petrol station would be a huge inconvenience for the town:

“If this petrol station is taken away, the nearest place to get petrol will be the Shell garage on the Skegness [A158] road, and people will have to queue on the road as that forecourt is just not equipped for the huge amount of people who use this one and who are having to go elsewhere.”These concerns are echoed by James Brown, of East Coast Motors, who said: "The nearest petrol stations from here, if Boston Road goes, are Coningsby and the Shell garage, and people will be queueing for hours on that road, and it will be dangerous to queue on that road."

Dr Rachel Cason, of Boston Road, has submitted her comments on the planning application to East Lindsey District Council, saying she considers the petrol station on Boston Road to be “a valuable contribution to the community”:

"We don't need a Lidl on this road, and the Aldi application and location makes so much more sense for this town, and could be constructed with so much less damage to existing business.

"To allow this construction would be such a shame, and so unnecessary.”

A similar comment from Elliot Hills, who also lives on Boston Road, said: “What is the point in destroying a gas station servicing half of Horncastle when we are already getting a brand new, very similar shop.

“It's a no brainer for me and I sincerely hope it will be reconsidered.”

The plans have attracted some positive comments, however.

Mr Stewart Sellers, of Steve Newton Avenue, said that Horncastle needs a supermarket at this end of town again to save travelling to Lincoln, Boston or Skegness to use the ones there, and that the “town needs to be looking forward and creating new and exciting developments and jobs”.

T Smith, also of Boston Road, also commented in favour of the plans, agreeing that having a Lidl and an Aldi will reduce carbon footprint as people will have to travel less:

"I am overjoyed that Lidl want to come to the town, along with Aldi – they should both be given the opportunity to bring life back into the town.

"Horncastle has the opportunity to become a shopping destination for the local area, drawing in new customers from the surrounding villages.”

Lidl, would not comment on the loss of the petrol station on Boston Road, but said that the plans had been confirmed following an “overwhelming positive response from local residents” during a public consultation and represent a multi-million pound investment.

A spokesman said: “The new modern supermarket would give residents access to Lidl’s high quality and affordable produce without having to travel further afield. In addition, and in line with our commitment to being carbon neutral, the new store would possess solar panels on the roof to provide energy to the store and offer a minimum of two rapid electric vehicle charging points.”