MAJOR SCHEME: Highways consultant Iain Miller and Dan Bramwell, of Bramwell Associates, were on hand at a public consultation to explain the proposals
MAJOR SCHEME: Highways consultant Iain Miller and Dan Bramwell, of Bramwell Associates, were on hand at a public consultation to explain the proposals

PLANS for a new supermarket on the outskirts of Barnard Castle have been unveiled to the public.

Proposals for the former Addisons auction house, just off the A688, went on show during a public consultation event at The Witham last Tuesday. If approved, the 3.18-acre site would include a Lidl food store covering 20,882sq ft, a Home Bargains store of 15,000sq ft and 144 car parking spaces. It is believed that 60 full-time and part-time jobs would also be created.

About 150 people turned up to view the plans being put forward by development firm Consolidated Property Group.

Dan Bramwell, of Bramwell Associates, who organised the event, said: “Today has been very positive. I have heard two people who have been negative. People are overwhelmingly in support of the proposals.”

Some independent traders in the town had previously voiced their concerns about the impact the development might have on the town centre. Richard Jackson, co-owner of F & R Jackson Ltd, which borders the site, attended the event. He said: “I think it is a good development for the town. The town is growing and it needs something else. I can’t see it having any impact on us but I am concerned about the effect it would have on local businesses in the town. I hope it fits in with the local landscape.”

However, CPG believes the scheme would have a “negligible to nil” impact on the town. The firm says Barnard Castle has a “limited retail offer” comprising of a small, “dated” Morrison’s store and other shops on the town’s high street. The developer says this would increase genuine choice for residents and reduce the need for people to travel further afield for their shopping. Architect Nick Charlesworth said: “People already shop at these types of shops and will continue to do so whether this is built or not.

“This simply reduces those food miles. Those who only ever shop on the town’s high street will continue to do so.

“The number of people who are telling us that they are going to Bishop Auckland and Darlington to shop at Lidl is very important. People are spending money outside of Barnard Castle. We want people to spend money in Barnard Castle so the money stays in the town. We want to work with the town.”

Those behind the scheme also allayed fears about an increase in traffic on the A688.

Resident John Murray said: “We do need more shops but I think it is the wrong place right next to the main road. I think there would be a lot of accidents there. I think it is in a bad place for traffic going in and out.”

Highways consultant, acting on behalf of CPG, Iain Miller, explained that in a peak hour, it is predicted that 250 cars would go both ways in 10 to 12 second intervals.

He said: “I am not saying there will not be delays there. There will be because it is a new project but it is within a manageable and acceptable level.”

Access would be off the A688. The 30mph limit would also be extended to cover the junction. Improvements are proposed for the footways at the site entrance as well as an informal crossing point on the A688 to the north east of the site. The buildings proposed would be “high quality modern yet sympathetic.”

An outline planning application is expected to be submitted this month.