Trees on the site will be preserved, and added to, should Lidl prevail. Credit: planning documents

Lidl facing Middlesbrough battle

Revised proposals for a store at the former Northern School of Art site on Green Lane, Linthorpe have met continued resistance, with planning officers recommending refusal.

The former Cleveland College of Art & Design plot on Green Lane could house the discounter’s next supermarket in the region, but plans for the now-levelled site have met with fierce opposition locally – although there is also a groundswell of support for the grocer.

Middlesbrough’s planning committee will this week rule on the proposals, put forward for Lidl by planning consultant Rapleys.

Typically for the group, the building would have an overall footprint of around 20,000 sq ft.

The site is located at the junction of Green Lane and Roman Road within a predominantly residential area, with the Linthorpe conservation area boundary extending to the eastern boundary of the site with the Roman Road Local Centre being located approximately 400m to the north. Tree Preservation orders are in place on five trees within the southern boundary of the site.

If built, the project would mean the closure of Thackeray Grove.

Initial plans for the project resulted in 73 individual objection letters and 266 pro-forma objection letters with 61 individual support letters and 551 pro-forma support letters, a petition in support signed by 49 individuals and 1 representation letter.

The revised plans have resulted in an additional 99 individual objection letters, 14 support letters and 3 representation letters. Key among the issues raised is the impact on local traders.

In the officers’ report that will aid the committee, officers said that although the site is in itself a sustainable location, the applicant has not “taken up sustainable opportunities”.

Officers continue: “The application site is outside of any defined centres identified within the adopted local development plan.

“The sequential test is considered not to have demonstrated flexibility in terms of both scale and format and failed to consider alternative sites the Council consider more appropriate for this scale of retail development, including Middlesbrough Town Centre within a five-minute drive time and Berwick Hills and Coulby Newham District Centre within the ten-minute drive time.”

Furthermore, said officers: “The scale, mass and design for the commercial development is considered to be visually dominant and out of character with the existing residential street scene and the character and appearance of the Linthorpe Conservation area.”

The plans can be viewed on Middlesbrough’s planning portal with the reference 22/0570/MAJ.

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