Plans for a new Aldi store in Crewe have been approved after developers vowed to spend £40,000 to protect great crested newts on the site.
Cheshire East Council’s strategic planning board passed proposals for the land, off University Way, despite officers recommending it for refusal.
It comes as a major boost to the 4,000 plus residents who signed a petition in favour of the development.
The retailer is closing its supermarket at the Grand Junction retail park next year and wants to build the new 1,801sq m store as a state-of-the-art replacement.
Twenty-eight existing jobs would be kept on as a result of the move, while Aldi says the new supermarket could create a further 20 roles.
The authority’s southern planning committee rejected the plans last November, with officers calling on councillors to reject them again ahead of today’s meeting.
(Artists impression of how the new site could look)
But George Brown, Aldi’s property director, urged councillors to approve the application following backing from many residents.
He said: “The proposal is without doubt supported by the people of Crewe.”
Mr Brown was also keen to highlight a £40,000 scheme – which he labelled as a ‘newt spa’ – to protect the eight great crested newts on the land.
He confirmed the £5,000-a-newt plan was needed to ensure the company met its ecological requirements.
Councillor Hazel Faddes (LAB – Crewe East) said the new supermarket would ‘enhance the gateway’ into Crewe.
But Councillor Patrick Redstone (CON – Odd Rode) called for a decision on the application to be adjourned, as he did not believe there was ‘consensus’ among members.
However, he did not have a seconder for the deferral.
Councillor Mike Hunter (LAB – Middlewich), who chaired the strategic planning board meeting, also weighed in on the debate.
He said he does not believe it has been an ‘easy decision’ for Aldi to move from a site they are ‘well known’ on to a new location.
Cllr Hunter also urged members to consider the public support over the plans shortly before members voted to approve the application.