New Aldi store plans for Driffield passed despite fears it will damage the High Street
East Riding councillors unanimously passed the proposals for the foodstore on the cattle market site with a 90-minute stay 118-space car park.
The council car park – which will continue to offer long stay, free car parking - will be relocated to the west of the new Aldi car park and provide 105 car parking spaces.
Andy Rafter, who with wife Tracy has run Rafters greengrocer’s in Middle Street South for 25 years, said the new store “would result in less choice as smaller retailers scale back or close as they have done in every other town dominated by supermarkets”.
Driffield’s footfall had gone up 16 per cent and was the best performing town in the East Riding, which Mr Rafter, said was testament to the fact that Driffield had a high percentage of independent shops and was not a “clone town”. He also questioned whether the store would create jobs in the long term given the roll-out of self service tills.
However committee members recalled previous occasions where fears had been expressed over supermarkets opening but said they had not been realised.
Councillor Geraldine Mathieson said of an Aldi opening in Cottingham that it had “made the Co-op up its game a bit”.
She said: “I think this will drive Tesco as the main competitor to improve their offer for residents. Driffield does have excellent independent shops; I don’t think this will be a threat to them because it’s a different kind of offer and there’s capacity for all of them to co-exist quite nicely.” Coun John Whittle recalled the furore over the Tesco opening on Beverley’s cattle market site. He said: “It was going to create mayhem and all the shops were going to close – but Tesco didn’t destroy Beverley.”