Confusion over Lidl’s new planning application for Hornchurch’s Mecca Bingo demolition

Mecca Bingo, High Street, Hornchurch

Mecca Bingo, High Street, Hornchurch - Credit: Archant

Confusion has emerged over a new planning application submitted by a supermarket chain Lidl over the demolition of a former bingo hall and historic cinema.

Residents believed the supermarket giant was trying to get out of its responsibility to clean the road during the demolition of the Towers Cinema in High Street, Hornchurch, after plans appeared on the council’s website stating a planning condition was being “discharged”.

But in planning terms, this means the applicant needs to be granted consent by the council over how it is going to implement the condition.

In August, the council’s regulatory services committee asked the chain to ensure cleansing facilities were put in place to rid the road from any mud or debris that would be deposited during the building’s demolition.

A spokeswoman for Lidl, which owns the building, confirmed the chain was “in the process of actioning the condition”.

“If mud or other debris originating from the site is deposited in the public highway, all on-site operations shall cease until it has been removed,” the condition states.

A traffic management plan was to be presented to the council prior to the start of the demolition work, highlighting where lorries would be accessing and exiting the site and with guarantees they will be checked and cleaned before driving off.

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The misunderstanding has led campaigners to call on residents through social media to object to the new planning application, which is a standard procedure in the planning process.

Council officers are expected to make a decision on this application by November 10, which may have delayed the demolition of the building.

If they believe Lidl’s proposal meets the condition, it will be discharged and the supermarket chain will be able to go ahead with bulldozing the building.

But demolition work cannot start before the council is satisfied Lidl will implement the condition to ensure roads around the site remain clear from mud and debris.

Lidl has also received planning permission to build a 1,690 metre square store and 104 parking spaces on the site.

The chain previously announced the new shop with a glass front will display the lettering “Towers” in front of the entrance and could create 48 jobs.