New Aldi supermarket for Horsham town centre off Albion Way given the thumbs up

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A brand new purpose-built Aldi supermarket for Horsham town centre has been narrowly approved.

The German discount retailer’s plans to knock down the former Curry’s building at Tanbridge Retail Park, on the corner of Worthing Road and Albion Way, has received huge public support.

But Horsham District Council officers recommended Aldi’s application be refused on design grounds, given the site is an important gateway into the town.

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However the council’s planning committee north narrowly approved the new store, subject to satisfactory conditions being agreed, at a meeting last night (Tuesday November 1) by 11 votes to nine with one abstention.

Aldi's proposed new Horsham supermarketAldi's proposed new Horsham supermarket
Aldi's proposed new Horsham supermarket

Aldi’s representatives explained that a mains sewer ran across the site and the need to allow an easement for any repairs had informed the site’s proposed layout and disagreed with suggestions the store’s design would be harmful to the area.

Trudie Mitchell, chair of Horsham Denne Neighbourhood Council, objected to the loss of boundary trees, the back of the building facing on to street frontages and access arrangements, suggesting the building would be ‘obtrusive and unwelcoming’.

She added: “Desire to use a particular store is not a valid reason to permit a planning application.”

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Several councillors also felt Aldi could do better. Christian Mitchell (Con, Holbrook West), cabinet member for Horsham town, said it made perfect sense why the retailer wanted the site, but added: “I do not think the design can be sacrificed at the altar of speed.”

Aldi's proposed new Horsham supermarketAldi's proposed new Horsham supermarket
Aldi's proposed new Horsham supermarket

However on balance the majority of the committee gave the plans the thumbs up.

Ruth Fletcher (Ldem, Denne), one of three local ward members, noted Aldi had improved the design after negotiations with officers, but described the new design as still ‘fairly generic and boxy’.

Weighing up the pros and cons, she suggested they delegate it for approval subject to satisfactory conditions being agreed.

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She said: “It’s massively better than retaining the existing site as it is.”

Other Denne representatives Belinda Walters and Clive Trott seemed to arrive at the same viewpoint.

While Cllr Walters understood officers’ frustrations on the design, she felt the new Aldi store would ‘bring so much more to Horsham’ than it would negatively impact the town’s character.

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