'Legal challenge' prompts fresh application to convert former Mothercare into Aldi
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A second proposal to convert the former Mothercare in Romford into an Aldi has been submitted to Havering Council.
This new application has been made after the first proposal - approved in July - became the subject of a legal challenge.
Plans to open an Aldi at the premises in Rom Valley Retail Park were first submitted to the council in May last year.
Documents provided at that time claimed the supermarket chain has a “strong requirement” for a new store in Romford, with the premises vacant since Mothercare closed in January 2020.
This first proposal was approved on July 9 this year; however, a judicial review has prompted the submission of new "materially similar" plans.
The planning and retail assessment for the second proposal doesn't elaborate on the challenge, except to say the latest application is being made "without prejudice to a judicial review being considered by the courts at the time of writing".
When pressed for further detail, a spokesperson for Aldi told the Recorder: "A further planning application has been submitted to address a legal challenge against a consent granted in July 2021, and we are hopeful of securing a new permission very soon.
"Aldi remains committed to opening a new store at Rom Valley Way that will serve the needs of local shoppers and offer greater choice for South Romford's residents."
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Although similar to the first, the second application features a notable difference; the initial proposal requested a "change of use" to a food store and the subsequent makes the same request "for a period of seven years".
The latest planning and retail assessment states the aim of this proposal is to improve shopping at the retail park "as an interim measure before the comprehensive redevelopment of the retail park comes forward".
According to the fresh plans, up to 50 new jobs would be created - on top of those generated by construction.
The borough of Havering would also benefit from a £2million-plus investment, it says.
A decision is expected by November 23.
Comment by visiting the council's planning portal and searching with reference P1882.21