McDonald’s, Aldi and Travelodge set for Letchworth as £16 million plan gets go-ahead
- Credit: Archant
McDonald’s, Aldi and a Travelodge hotel are set to come to Letchworth within a year after a £16 million redevelopment plan was given the green light last night.
The proposal for the 4½-acre industrial site at 1 Avenue One, which has been dubbed Letchworth Gateway, received a resolution to grant planning consent from North Herts District Council’s planning control committee during a meeting at Letchworth’s Spirella Ballroom.
The blueprint for the long-vacant plot between the A505 Baldock Road and Sixth Avenue – formerly used by BT Engage – includes a McDonald’s drive-through, an Aldi supermarket, a three-storey Travelodge hotel and a Costa Coffee café with drive-through.
Haseeb Hassan, from developers Aberdeen Standard Investments – also behind Stevenage’s Roaring Meg and the A1 retail park in Biggleswade – told the Comet that the Letchworth development could open by next summer, and bring up to 150 new jobs.
He said: “We are really pleased to have been given this positive resolution. The new development will not only provide useful facilities for residents and businesses, but it will also bring new employment opportunities to the area.
“Great care has been taken to ensure that the design of this development strikes a good balance between the needs of the new businesses, the edge of industrial area setting and its proximity to the garden city.
“This extends to the architecture, with the proposed new buildings having flat-pitched roofs similar to other buildings in the area.
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“We hope to be on site towards the end of 2017, which means that we could have the first elements open by next summer.”
The construction could provide 37 jobs during the estimated 12-month build, with another 29 or so created in the supply chain during the redevelopment.
The plans include parking spaces for 216 cars, split between the McDonald’s, supermarket, 73-room hotel and café.
Letchworth used to have a McDonald’s in the town centre, which closed about a decade ago.
District council planning officer Tom Allington reported to the committee that he did not expect the development to have a major impact on town-centre trading in either Letchworth or Baldock.
Consultants acting on behalf of discount supermarket Lidl, which has an outlet in nearby Jubilee Road, formally objected on the grounds that a new Aldi could significantly hit its trade draw – but Mr Allington said that impact on out-of-centre food stores was not a retail planning consideration.
The Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation made no objection to the plan, but requested that “careful consideration is given to the impact on the vibrancy and vitality of Letchworth town centre”.
A sequential test carried out by planners commissioned by the district council considered alternative locations in Letchworth town centre at The Wynd, Gernon Road and Arena Parade, but found that none of these could accommodate the proposed development.
The developers have received a resolution to grant consent, meaning that they will receive planning approval so long as they can conclude a section 106 agreement with planning officers regarding transport and fire hydrant provision.
You can find out more about the Letchworth Gateway plans at 1avenueone.co.uk.