After eight years in the planning, work has started on a new supermarket to the south of Peterborough One Retail Park.
Originally envisioned as a 6,028 sqm store in 2012, the growth of the discount supermarkets and the change in how we do our shopping may have been some of the reasons why this never progressed beyond the planning stage. In 2018 plans for a smaller 1,315 sqm Aldi superstore were put forward and approved by the local planning department.
Norwich-based commercial property investment, development and management company, Targetfollow bought Peterborough One (previously named Peterborough Garden Park) for an undisclosed sum in 2017. An indirect consequence of the supermarket will hopefully be an increase in the retail park’s overall footfall. While the village has Eye Village Store and the Co-op, the closest large supermarket is currently Sainsbury’s in Parnwell which is around two and a half miles from the village.
The UK has seen a big rise in the discount superstores, Aldi already has four stores in Peterborough located in Bretton, Hampton, New England and the recently refurbished store in Stanground. The store in Stanground was Peterborough’s first Aldi which opened around 1995. They opened their first store in the UK in 1990 and a report in February 2020 indicated that the company was now operating approximately 874 stores in the UK, and planned to have 1,200 by 2025.
Despite its size Aldi remains a family-owned business, the name, an abbreviation for Albrecht Diskont, was introduced in 1962. Albrecht is the surname of the brothers that originally set up the chain and diskont is the german word for discount. One way the company keeps pricing low is to keep a much smaller selection of items on the shelves, offering up to 2,000 core products compared to 40,000 in a store such as Tesco’s. This means the company has smaller stores and warehouses, keeping rent prices a lot lower than the traditional supermarkets such as Sainsbury and Tesco, passing the savings on to customers. They also don’t stock many big brand names, making more room on the shelves for its own-brand items. Store size is normally 1,200 sqm – 1,500 sqm with a similar layout for most stores. Additionally, many similar sized supermarkets have around 100 employees but Aldi only has 30 to 40 in each store. Even the buildings are prefabricated and built to a very high quality to keep maintenance costs low. Once the steel framework is up it can be, in the simplest terms, be bolted together. In 2019 Channel 5 aired a documentary called Inside Aldi: Britain’s Biggest Budget Supermarket which is still available online.
During the community engagement part of the planning process, nearby residents were asked what they thought of the plans and 95 per cent of residents in the area replied that they were in favour of Aldi’s plans. A traffic survey (section four onwards) was also completed showing the new store won’t make a huge difference to traffic on the nearby A1139. Once the supermarket is operational one example in the report shows that there will be an additional 14 vehicles (based on 2018 figures) using the A1139 from the direction of Eye between 9am and 10am. Compared to the nearly 700 vehicles that use the A1139 during this time frame it’s a small percentage, that’s the theory anyway. More info on this in part one of the travel survey. As residents of Eye know the A1139 between Eye and Parnwell is regularly gridlocked during morning rush hour.
The principal contractor for the new supermarket is local company Acrabuild who are based in Market Deeping. At the time of writing the small brook that crosses the middle of the site is being relocated to the north and east of the site.
Typical opening times for an Aldi store are Monday – Saturday 8am – 10pm, Sunday 10am – 4pm. There will be eight cycle stands and 140 parking spaces for shoppers in addition to those in the adjacent retail park. The store is expected to open in 2021.
Competitor Lidl currently has two stores in the city with a third soon to open. Lidl has recently invested £70 million in a regional distribution centre near the A1 in Peterborough. Both Aldi and Lidl are German companies.