Lidl reveals plans for new Hornchurch supermarket on Mecca Bingo site
PUBLISHED: 11:46 22 August 2016 | UPDATED: 14:47 24 August 2016
Disappointed residents have urged a supermarket chain not to demolish a historic bingo hall after they received an artist impression of the budget store that would be built in its place.
More than 200 people have signed a new petition opposing the demolition of the former Mecca Bingo building, High Street, Hornchurch, before the plans are due to be voted on by a council committee on Thursday.
Councillors called on Lidl to preserve the facade of the building but last week the council confirmed only the lettering “Towers” will be kept in the new plans for the site.
Residents took to social media to express their disappointment about the proposed plans after receiving the artist impression of the store.
Carol Lennon-Drage wrote: “As much as I would like to see a Lidl in Hornchurch the Towers is such a beautiful building I would cry if I saw it pulled down and replaced by this bland supermarket building. Pity Lidl can’t compromise and have the supermarket within this beautiful building.”
Chris Lawrence added: “I’m a fan of modern buildings but also hate it when a grand building is replaced by a bland, nondescript lump of glass with no design qualities whatsoever.”
Other residents also expressed their concerns about additional traffic a new Lidl supermarket would generate in the area.
Last year, supermarket budget chain Lidl bought the site for just over £8million but campaigners have been battling to preserve the building ever since.
Earlier this month, Lidl created a petition calling on residents to support the opening of a new supermarket in Hornchurch after the planning application to demolish the building was deferred by the council’s regulatory services committee in July.
The petition reads: “Our proposal will drastically improve the visual amenity of this site and strengthen the commercial offer of Hornchurch’s Local Centre.
“The development would bring greater shopping choice to local residents and create up to 40 new local employment opportunities.”
It has so far gathered 48 signatures.
The supermarket chain has called for a public meeting to be called on August 31 from 5pm to 8pm at the North Street Hall, North Street, Hornchurch.
Residents campaigning to save the building are also in talks with cinema chain Everyman to consider buying the site.
Follow the council’s regulatory services committee decision on Twitter by following @romfordrecorder.