A decision is due soon on whether Lidl will be given permission to demolish the Three Counties Hotel in Hereford and erect a superstore.

Lidl submitted a planning application earlier this year to demolish the existing hotel and associated structures and erect a Class E foodstore with associated access, parking, servicing, drainage and landscaping.

This application resulted in a number of objections from local residents, but it has also been balanced by some support.

One resident who lives near the proposed development said:

“The traffic on Belmont Road is a big problem and it’s quicker to go to Abergavenny or Newport than try to travel into Hereford on the A465.”

However, not everyone is against the plans. A local resident who supports the plans for a Lidl store said:

“We need a low cost supermarket south of the river. It will negate the need for extra traffic on the road to the cheaper supermarkets on the north side.”

Hereford City Council made a few comments stating that they had no objections to the opening of a Lidl store on the site, but that it was regretful to lose the hotel and to see it demolished.

“No Objections from Hereford City Council Planning Committee in regards to Planning Application 231703, though Councillors stated that it is regretful to lose the hotel and a shame to see the building demolished.”

Waitrose has objected to plans for Lidl to build a store in the Belmont Road area of the city by saying:

“Firstplan act on behalf of Waitrose & Partners, who operate a store at The Old Market in Hereford town centre. 

“The Waitrose store forms part of the Old Market site, a mixed retail and leisure development which anchors the northern side of Hereford city centre, the redevelopment of which has been a long-term policy aspiration for Herefordshire Council. 

“The Waitrose store falls within the defined policy boundary of Hereford city centre, and Waitrose in turn form one of the ‘anchor’ stores within the development. The store commenced trading in April 2014.

“We have been informed of the above application, which seeks full planning permission for the development of a new Lid foodstore in an out of centre location, on the site of the Three Counties Hotel at Belmont Road, Hereford. 

“The application is highly similar in scope to that which was previously submitted to the authority under application ref 221090 and subsequently withdrawn by the applicants. 

“The revised scheme which is the subject of this application proposes amarginally smaller foodstore to that which was proposed under the withdrawn application, and we note that the drive-thru unit which was also proposed by the withdrawn application also no longer forms part of the proposed development. 

“The sales area of the proposed Lid store has been reduced from 1,411 sq.m net to 1,251 sq.m net, a reduction of just 160 sq.m net, meaning that many of our concerns in respect of the previous application continue to apply.

“Notwithstanding the changes which the revised application proposes, on behalf our clients, we wish to object to this application. 

“The modest reduction in floorspace proposed does not offset our client’s significant concerns about the potential impacts of this proposed development, which offers scope to significantly undermine the recent positive step-changes which have taken place in Hereford town centre in terms of diversifying and enhancing its retail and commercial leisure offer. 

“The submitted application will draw trade away from the city centre and its anchor foodstores at a time when its wider vitality and viability is compromised, and where the anchor foodstores themselves are identified through up to date evidence as under-performing.

“We set out our objectionsinfullbelow. In setting these out, we makereference to the Planning & Retail Statement (‘PRS’) which has been prepared by Carney Sweeney Planning (‘SP) dated May 2023 in support of the application. 

“We also make reference to the Herefordshire Town Centre and Retail Assessment (Nexus Planning, September 2022) (hereafter referred to as the 2022 Retail Study) which contains a significant amount of important evidence which the Council will need to have regard to in their determination of the application, which is not captured by the planning application as it pre-dates the publication of the study.”

More details from the planning application from Lidl to demolish existing hotel and erection of a new foodstore (Class E).

“The application follows the withdrawal of application 221090 for a similar, albeit larger development.”

The application site is on Belmont Road, Hereford, HR2 7BP. It is situated within the local authority area of Herefordshire Council, and it is currently occupied by the Three Counties Hotel, landscaped grounds and parking areas.

The application site measures 1.68ha approx. 

The topography of the site is predominantly flat. The site fronts on to Belmont Road (the A465). 

It is located within a mixed residential/commercial area of Hereford, approximately 1.8km to the south-west of the City Centre. Residential properties surround the site to the north, east and west.

The Three Counties Hotel site currently occupies asylum seekers through a scheme led by the Home Office.

The record shows two planning permissions for extensions to the hotel, neither of which are directly relevant to the current development proposal, and the withdrawn application 221090 for a similar, albeit larger development to that now sought.

The plans consist of:

Demolition of the existing hotel and erection of a new foodstore (Class E) on the site to be occupied by Lidl. The store would have a floorspace of 1,984 sqm (GEA) excluding canopy (2,140 sqm including canopy) and a sales area of 1,251 sqm;

A car park of 118 spaces including 8no. disabled, 10no. parent & child, and 2no. electric charging bays;

Associated access improvements comprising:

Increase width of existing footways along the site frontage.

Increase width of footways to the west of the site, along the northern side of Belmont Road (A465) leading to Flaxley Drive.

A new 3.0m wide shared use cycleway/footway from the end of the existing shared use facility on Goodrich Grove along the southern side of Belmont Road (A465), leading to an upgraded pedestrian refuge island on Belmont Road.

Increase width of existing Belmont Road (A465) refuge island to 3m to facilitate shared use.

Increase width of footway along the northern side of Belmont Road (A465) from the proposed upgraded refuge to a dedicated 3.0m wide internal footway/cycleway which crosses the existing verge and leads directly to the store frontage and the cycle storage area.

The following trading and delivery hours are sought:

Monday-Saturday Trading 08:00-22:00 Deliveries 07:00-23:00

Sundays 10:00-16:00

Bank Holidays 08:00-22:00

The proposed Lidl store would be located in the north-east corner of the site with parking wrapping around the south and west elevations of the proposed store.

A 118-space car park is proposed which includes 10 parent & child spaces, 8 disabled spaces and 2 electric charging bays.

In terms of accessing the site, the existing site access from Belmont Road will be utilised and will act as the entry and exit for customers and servicing vehicles. 

Pedestrians will also access the site from Belmont Road (A465), both adjacent to the vehicular access and in the form of a 3m wide pedestrian/cycle link further east.

The proposed Lidl is expected to create around 40 full time jobs.

Herefordshire Council documents show that a decision is expected in the coming weeks with a target date of Friday 15th December.