So Aldi has been given the go-ahead, meaning Clitheroe and Ribble Valley residents will eventually have five supermarkets to choose from.
Now some people may think, for a relatively small market town like Clitheroe, that number of supermarkets is ridiculous. But for a highly successful budget retailer like Aldi to make such an investment in the town, the company must be pretty sure it is wanted and will flourish.
Personally, I think this new addition will be good for the town. Many of my friends already regularly shop at Aldi, driving to Accrington and Great Harwood where Aldi already has stores, instead of staying local.
If the Clitheroe Aldi store prevents these people from going out of town to do their shopping that must be a good thing for both the environment and local shopkeepers, for how often do you visit the supermarket, forget something on your list and end up buying it somewhere else locally. And with all the new houses springing up throughout the town, maybe Aldi will satisfy the increased demand that may arise.
It always amazes me how busy all the local supermarkets are. Look at how popular Clitheroe’s Lidl supermarket is, but at the same time, I haven’t seen much of a decline in the number of shoppers visiting the other three supermarkets the town has to offer.
Over the border in Pendle I know residents in Barnoldswick and Earby are crying out for more choice. Planning applications from both Aldi and Tesco to build a supermarket in Barnoldswick were turned down after campaigning by local traders. An Aldi supermarket was subsequently built in Skipton, meaning residents in Barnoldswick and Earby are once again forced to climb into their cars if they want more choice.
People are still feeling the pinch and I think it’s unrealistic for anyone to think people will stay local and not travel out of town when bargains are to be had.
As for when this new Aldi supermarket will be built, that’s another matter. It seems the supermarket’s ambitions for the site have hit a stumbling block and there may be tough negotiations ahead before customers actually step into a new store.
It will be a real shame if that piece of land remains unused for much longer though. Like Coun. Sue Knox said, the site is the first thing people see as they enter Clitheroe. We want to encourage people to visit the town – not turn around and drive home.