New Lidl to open after 'Battle of the Supermarkets'

The land planned for 45 homes and a new Lidl in Watton

The homes and Lidl are set to go up on land off Norwich Road, in the east of Watton. - Credit: Google

A new Lidl is set to open in a Norfolk town, following an attempt by rival supermarket Tesco to block the move.

The new superstore will be part of a development off Watton's Norwich Road, which also includes 45 new homes. 

The development was unanimously granted permission by Breckland Council's planning committee on Tuesday, March 15.

An earlier permission, given in August 2021, was quashed in the High Court, after Tesco argued it was unlawful

The rival supermarket chain, which already has a large store in Watton, said Lidl’s arrival in the town would have an "adverse impact" on the town centre’s “vitality and viability” as a whole. 

In a July 2021 letter to the council, a consultant acting on Tesco’s behalf insisted their client’s objection to the plan was in no way “motivated by a desire to prevent competition within the food retailing industry” but instead “related entirely to proper planning considerations alone”.

At Tuesday's planning meeting, councillors re-looked at the plan, which included some slight modifications from the last time it was given permission, including new conditions restricting the new store’s floorspace. 

Local Conservative councillor Tina Kiddell said: “We need another supermarket desperately in the town. 

George Freeman MP, Tina Kiddell Mayor of Watton, Deven Changela and Chandni Changela owners of the W

Local Conservative councillor Tina Kiddell, pictured during her time as mayor of Watton. - Credit: Archant

Most Read

“This proposal has unanimous support from the townspeople and there has not been a day gone by without a comment of ‘When is Lidl going to open?’

“All of the shops are at the western end of town, with Tesco in the middle.

“Where this is proposed, it is more towards Carbrooke, in the east. There are a great deal of families and new houses at this end of the town.

“It is unfair of any corporation to exclude many of these people from being able to access a nearer shop.”

She said Tesco would in fact benefit from the arrival of Lidl, because she said it would bring more people into the town, some of whom might not be able to get everything they need at the new store. 

The council’s solicitor, Michael Horn said: “You can rest assured that all the original issues raised, and accepted by us, have been carefully considered and that we have gone to great lengths to ensure that the officer report, the recommendations, are all lawful.”

He added however that he could not guarantee Tesco would not launch a second judicial review.