A strip of land in Sutton Coldfield which has remained empty for decades is set to become home to a popular discount supermarket chain.
Aldi has purchased the Brassington Avenue site in the centre of the town with a view to building a new store and moving when the lease on its existing town centre base in The Parade expires in two years’ time.
The plans have been revealed in a masterplan document titled ‘Project Interdependency’ by Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design, which has been released ahead of the latest meeting of the Sutton Coldfield Town Centre Regeneration Partnership on Thursday, March 25.
The document details a timeline envisaged for changes in the centre of Sutton from the bus interchange near the railway station, an extension of the Red Rose Centre site to changes in Station Street, the Lower Parade and Brassington Avenue, among others.
In a section titled West of Brassington Avenue the Aldi plans are detailed.
The report says: “The site on Brassington Avenue is currently owned by Aldi, who wish to relocate from the Parade site to this one.
“The lease on the Parade ends in August 2023. Detailed discussions about the form and nature of the development have continued, and Aldi are keen to progress a planning application.
“Aldi engaged in the process of adopting the masterplan, and are seeking to meet the masterplan’s ambitions in respect of this site, including encouraging a link to the town centre, an interface with the Brassington Avenue elevation of the Gracechurch Centre and public open space at Park Road to enhance the link to Sutton Park.”
The report continues: “The site is an expensive one to develop, and is constrained by both the Plants Brook culvert, which lies some six to 8m below ground, and the railway embankment. However, Aldi are keen to remain in the town and expect to submit a planning application in summer 2021 with a view to being on site in early 2023.
“It should be noted that the delivery of development on this site is not dependent on delivering a downgrade to Brassington Avenue.”
Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council leader Simon Ward (Four Oaks, Cons.), who chairs the regeneration partnership, welcomed the news.
He said: “The Brassington Avenue site has been difficult for many years. It’s a really positive endorsement of the town that Aldi are looking to invest in our town centre.
“We are really moving forwards. The public sector can help with this. We need the public sector standing squarely behind it, existing land owners and new entrants. It’s positive to see.”
It is the second site Aldi has bought in Sutton Coldfield, with the former Waitrose building in Mere Green and neighbouring office under the German retailer’s ownership. Plans for that site in Belwell Lane are said to be in their ‘infancy’, with a petition started to stop it, although many opposed that petition.
The Brassington Avenue site has remained dormant despite several plans to develop it for commercial and residential use which have included tower blocks for the older generation, to a Sainsbury’s store and hopes from others that it could have been the town’s bus centre.
Sutton Trinity city and town councillor David Pears (Cons.) also welcomed the news and said Aldi had purchased the land in the last ‘six to nine months’. He said: “I think it is one of those green shoots that you hope is going to come to bloom.
“It is always good to be positive but you got to be realistic. We have been waiting so long. Different plans have come and failed for all sorts of reasons. We want to see the town centre economy pick up, with a choice of retail options and parking options to link up with that.
“It’s good investors are looking to us and I hope it encourages other retailers to come in.”
Aldi has announced plans to have 1,200 stores by 2025, having opened its 900 UK store in Sandhurst, Berkshire last October..
A spokesman for Aldi said: “We are always looking for and considering sites for our future stores network, including sites across the region.”
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