Massive jobs boost for Luton and Dunstable

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Up to 1,000 new jobs will be created after a major supermarket chain announced plans for a massive distribution centre off junction 11a of the M1.

Lidl UK is to build a major new Regional Distribution Centre (RDC) to service stores across Greater London, after exchanging contracts with the Houghton Regis Management Co (a consortium of Aviva Investors, LIH and the Diocese of St Albans) on a 58-acre site in Luton.

The new warehouse, which will be approximately 1mill square foot, will be Lidl’s largest in the UK at double the size of any of its other warehouses across Great Britain.

Underlining the scale of the supermarket’s ambitious expansion plans in London, the RDC will be Lidl’s fourth for Greater London, supporting warehouses in Belvedere, Northfleet and Enfield, and its 16th in the UK.

Along with the supermarket’s other London RDCs, the new warehouse will manage the supply and distribution of food and non-food products to Lidl stores in and around the M25, whilst supporting the supermarket’s continued growth in Greater London. In the next two months the supermarket will open five new London stores, including Shepherds Bush, Walthamstow Central, South Ruislip, Hornchurch and Rosehill.

Ingo Fischer, Lidl UK Board Director for Expansion and Development, said: “As more London households choose to shop at Lidl we are committed to the continued investment in our operations and infrastructure to support our growth.

“With five new stores opening in the next two months alone, and further store expansion and development plans in place for the Greater London area across the new financial year and beyond, this new warehouse is vital in supporting our ambitious expansion plans in and around the M25.”

The transaction is part of the first phase of the development of this key strategic site being led by the consortium, following the opening of the new J11A of the M1 giving direct access to the 630 acre site. The consented scheme comprises 5,000 houses 3 primary schools and a further 1m sq ft of commercial and retail space.

David Skinner, Managing Director of UK Real Estate at Aviva Investors, said: “We are delighted to have secured Lidl as an owner occupier on this important strategic land site. The wider consented scheme has consent for over 5,000 homes and, following the recent opening of the new M1 motorway junction, we intend to commence development in early 2019”.

The new distribution centre, which forms part of Lidl UK’s £1.45bn expansion investment in Great Britain between 2017-18, follows the opening of two new RDCs in Exeter and Wednesbury in 2017, and the announcement of a further three new warehouses in Doncaster, Bolton and Peterborough. Construction has also begun on two new warehouses in Avonmouth and Eurocentral, Scotland, which will replace its existing warehouses in Weston-Super-Mare and Livingston respectively.