ANGER is continuing to grow following the discovery that a new supermarket to be built at Lymm will be operated by Danish discount chain Netto.
Residents claim they were misled when plans were submitted for the store in Rushgreen Road because it was described as a “high quality food store.”
Cllr Ian Marks, former chairman of the parish council said: “Rightly or wrongly Netto is perceived to be a downmarket company and is not what people expected.
“It has generated real anger and an on-line petition to try and have it stopped. People are likening it to the time when Spar had the village centre supermarket which didn’t work out.”
Cllr Marks (pictured) said for weeks the name of the supermarket operator had been a well-kept secret.
But it leaked out because Netto applied to the council for a licence and placed a public notice on a fence on the site.
He said: “The company has been inept in the way the name has leaked out. I cannot believe their PR people intended this. I had no idea whatsoever who the supermarket was going to be and Netto was not a company that had even crossed my mind.
“What is upsetting people is that the original consultation document put out by the developer, Brookhouse, stated that the proposal was for ‘a new high-quality foodstore in Lymm’. As well as meaning a quality design for the building, this was interpreted by most people, including myself, as meaning an upmarket company. Names such as Waitrose, Booths and M&S were suggested by residents.
“There is a real concern that as Netto is a joint venture with Sainsbury’s, the store in the centre of Lymm is at risk. This would be very bad news for other shops because it is an anchor store that brings footfall to the village centre.”
Cllr Pam Marks, chairman of the parish council’s planning committee added: “Although I am disappointed at the identity of the tenant, under planning law, knowing the name could not have affected our decision to support the application.
“People are saying the store is being built on the Green Belt but this is not true because the Green Belt starts behind this brownfield site.”
Cllr Sheila Woodyatt said: “I was opposed to having a supermarket on that site at all. I don’t think it is suitable – I much preferred the earlier proposal for residential development.
“But we are where we are. If we have to have a supermarket I would have preferred a Waitrose or Booth’s.”
Sainsbury’s have stressed that although they have a 50 per cent stake in Netto, it is a separate company with a different offer.
A spokesman said: “We have no plans to close our shop at Lymm, which is extremely popular with the local community.”
Netto have applied for a licence to sell alcohol from the new supermarket from 8am to 11pm.
Commenting on the plans, Tom Whitehead, Group Town Planning Manager at Brookhouse Group, said: “This is a really interesting project for Brookhouse Group and were thrilled to be partnering with Netto and helping the brand to expand its offer to the local community.
“Brookhouse held a robust consultation exercise last year that demonstrated support for the plans. Many of the comments focused on the economic benefits that the store could bring to Lymm, while others said they would welcome an alternative place to do their weekly shop. We would also like to reassure the local community that the store would be designed to a high standard and in keeping with the local area.
“This is a significant investment in the local community, which would enhance the retail area and provide a timely boost to the local economy, creating 25 jobs.