Home Bristolian Aldi move into B&Q store faces a hitch

Aldi move into B&Q store faces a hitch

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Plans for an Aldi in Yate were approved more than three months ago – but a strange hitch must be overcome.

South Gloucestershire Council green-lit proposals on February 5, which would see the budget supermarket move into the Station Road unit used by DIY store B&Q.

Harmsworth Pension Funds Trustees, which owns the building, originally applied for Aldi and a discount variety retailer to take over the store.

The scheme would have seen B&Q leave the site, but it was rejected amid concerns from Yate Town Council that the DIY store’s closure would cause “loss of diversity within the town centre”.

Harmsworth, which manages the pensions of former Daily Mail employees, came back with proposals for Aldi to share the building with B&Q, which would trade from a reduced floorspace.

These plans got the go-ahead in February, but Bristol Live can reveal a condition in a deed from 1985 has presented a complication for Aldi.

The planning document from 1985 said there was permission for a store to open – but only within certain parameters. It prevented the site being used “for any purpose other than as either a do-it-yourself store and garden centre, or alternatively for the purpose of either warehousing or retail warehousing”.

There may have been hope that the “retail warehousing” element would allow Aldi to move in – but close inspection of the deed shows this would only cover a building resembling a warehouse which sells “non-food goods”.



The deed of release
The 1985 deed of release

The upshot of this is Harmsworth must get permission from the council to change this condition, so Aldi can sell food when it starts trading from the unit. The company submitted an application for this on April 23.

Harmsworth argues: “The principle of the allowing the sale of a wider range of retail goods to be sold from the site, including the sale of food and drink, has been established and deemed acceptable by South Gloucestershire Council in granting the February 2021 consent.”

Aldi did not provide a timescale for its plans to launch in Yate when asked, but the council said the deadline for a decision on the application is June 17.

The original scheme, which would have seen B&Q close, were scrapped after the council received 10 objections and only two comments in support.

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The shopping centre’s owner Crestbridge had written: “The proposal has the potential to result in the loss of the town centre’s only dedicated DIY store and undermine the council’s objective to diversify the range of town centre uses in Yate town centre.”

Harmsworth had claimed there was “substantial uncertainty” over whether B&Q would renew its lease, adding: “This is evidenced across the UK and locally by the closure of B&Q at Stoke Gifford.”

But B&Q expressed its intention to stay, telling Bristol Live last year: “We remain committed to having a store in the Yate area.”

The plans which ended up being approved attracted six objections and 26 supportive comments, with the retention of B&Q proving popular.

B&Q currently has the lease for the entire 3,681-square metre unit, but it will be split into two, with Aldi taking over 1,310 square metres for convenience goods and 262 square metres for ‘comparison goods’ such as those found in the retailer’s middle aisle.

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