Plans to build a second Lidl in Bath has divided residents, as came to the fore at a consultation event over the plans yesterday (Wednesday, 17th May).

Lidl says the meadow on the London Road entrance to Bath is the most suitable and accessible site, and that a new shop there would bring up to 40 jobs to the city, meet a need for a discount supermarket on this side of the city, and — though ecology work — actually improve the biodiversity on the site.

But there are concerns from locals about building on the greenfield site and fears it will increase traffic on the already congested London Road.

Lidl bosses behind the planned new store came to Bath for a consultation event for members of the public to learn about and discuss the plans, but the event at Bath Rugby’s Lambridge training grounds was met by protestors opposed to the building. 

Bath locals were invited to look at the plans at the consultation event.
( (Image: John Wimperis))

Mel Clarke, who lives in Bathwick and helped carry the protestors’ “SAVE BATH WILDLIFE MEADOW” banner, said: “I don’t want this Lidl development going ahead because we don’t need another supermarket, we need to protect our wildlife spaces.”

Among the protestors was Green councillor for Lambridge on Bath and North East Somerset Council, Joanna Wright, who said: “At the end of the day there should be no supermarket, its not anti-Lidl. […] This is a green entrance to the city that the Georgians put in place hundreds of years ago.”

She added: “We should not be building on it. We should be protecting it.”

She added: “The most important thing is we have to face directly the issue about cheap food. We do have real pockets of depravation, of poverty, and those people do need to be supported. But I don’t understand why a multinational corporation […] is going to solve that problem.

“What we have had is 13 years of a tory government. We have had inflation rise in those years and lots of people are suffering. What we need is to pay those people and support them.”

But inside the consultation, feelings were more mixed. One member of the public discussing his conflicting feelings at the consultation said the site had become an “inadvertent nature reserve.”

For others, traffic was the main worry. Margaret Richards lives just across the roundabout and said that, when the traffic is bad, it can take 20 minutes for them to get to where the Lidl would be.

She said: “If its 20 minutes now, what on earth is it going to be like with any increased traffic.”

But she added that she would use the new shop if it did open, as she currently goes across Bath to the other Lidl.

Local author Nigel Lassman also attended the consultation. He said: “It would be nice to have something this close but I am not at all happy about the location. It’s going to turn a T-junction into a crossroads.”

But some people who showed up to the consultation event were more enthusiastic. Baas Aldred, who lives nearby, said he thought the plans were “wonderful.”

He said: “It looks to me like they have taken quite a studied view of what the locals require in terms of conservation, not spoiling the environment, and looking after the habitat.”

Increasing biodiversity by at least 10% is now a requirement of new developments in Bath and North East Somerset, but Lidl says it will increase it by more than 40%, though giving the store a green roof, as well as planting more greenery and bird baths, bat boxes, and bee towers.

The existing trees by the Avon would also be retained.

A spokesperson for Lidl GB said: “Thank you to everyone who took the time to come and discuss our plans to bring a new Lidl store to Bath.

“For those unable to attend the public consultation, there is still time for people to share their views. Residents who received a consultation leaflet can return it with their thoughts, and we would welcome anyone who wishes to discuss the proposal to contact us directly.

“We look forward to reviewing all the feedback to ensure our plans best meet the needs of those living in the local area and to submitting our planning application in due course.”

A transport plan will be submitted with the planning application.

You can view the consultation proposals here:

People are also able to discuss the proposals by calling 0800 089 0361 or emailing [email protected]