Plans for a new Aldi discount food store in Gipsy Lane, Luton, have taken a step forward after the council’s planning committee resolved to approve the development, against the recommendation of planning officers.
The Aldi store, with car parking, would be built on the site of Venue 360, which was the former Vauxhall Recreation Centre.
Councillors decided the land has not been used by anyone since the bowling green closed, and that approving the plans would tidy up the area. It was considered the scheme would not have an effect on the vitality of existing shopping centres in the area.
Ian Jackson, for developers Hampton Brook, said: “The committee decision was a good outcome for Venue 360, the community and common sense.
“We have always been aware of strong local support for a food discounter in this area and the obvious benefits this scheme will deliver locally. As well as strengthening the facilities at Venue 360, the proposal offers to support improvements to public sport facilities. The permission will also deliver new job opportunities. A great result!”
The discount store plans to create up to 40 full and part-time new jobs.
Councillors voted to overturn the refusal recommendation by six votes to four. The project was approved by six votes to three, subject to Section 106 contributions being arranged with council planning officers, which will be brought back to the committee on Wednesday, April 24.
Speaking on behalf of local agents, Kirkby Diamond, Eamon Kennedy, added: “It’s a very effective use of the land which has lain dormant for so long and its sale will raise needed funds for maintenance and improvements at the Venue 360 community sporting venue.”