Traders plan to fight Aldi through courts to save village

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TRADERS say they are taking legal advice after councillors approved controversial plans for a supermarket they claim will “rip the heart out” of their Pennine village.

Kirklees Council’s planning committee yesterday gave the go-ahead for an Aldi store to be built in the centre of Slaithwaite, in the Colne Valley, despite objections from nearly 2,000 businesses and residents.

Terry Bullen, of O Blackburn outfitters, said: “I’m absolutely disgusted. I think they have made the totally wrong decision and feel they haven’t listened to our concerns. We are now taking legal advice to see if we have any redress.”

He was among 39 traders who put their names to an open letter to the planning committee urging it to reject the plans.

They fear the development will increase traffic and congestion and take custom away from independent retailers.

Fellow signatory Richard Grange, of E&R Grange Butchers, said: “An Aldi supermarket would rip the heart out of our village.”

About 2,000 people signed a petition and sent letters objecting to the development and around 1,000 supported it.

Those in favour argued it would reduce the need to shop further afield, making life easier for residents, and encouraging more people to use other shops in Slaithwaite, as well as creating jobs.

Plans for the store, which is to be built on the fire-damaged Colne Mills site in Britannia Road, were approved by an eight-seven majority. Planners said they were satisfied the roads could cope and safety would not be compromised. They also cited a retail assessment which concluded the store would not detract from the shops already in the village.