No date yet for Moreton Lidl

No date has been given for a new Lidl to open in Moreton despite past promises it would already be built.

The Lidl is proposed as part of a major development just outside Moreton town centre on Pasture Road that would see 45 homes built, improvements to the town’s library and youth centre, as well as 80 supported living apartments.

The project was brought forward by the Wirral Growth Company, the council’s joint firm with development Muse, with planning permission granted in April 2023.

When the plans were first submitted in November 2022, the planning application said the new Lidl was expected to open at the end of 2023 with the extra-care supported living apartments as well as new public gardens completed by 2024. Work on the new 45 homes was expected to start at the end of 2023 with the scheme finished by 2026.

However, the Lidl completion date was later pushed back to 2024 as planning permission was granted later in 2023.

Recently Lidl announced a wish list for new Lidl stores across Wirral including Heswall, Hoylake, and West Kirby, New Brighton, New Ferry, Seacombe, and Upton. Moreton was not part of this wish list as the development has already been given planning permission but Lidl said no opening date has been confirmed yet for the development.

The last full update on the scheme came at a hearing on 31 October scrutinising Wirral’s Local Plan, a draft policy that maps out housing and economic development in Wirral until 2040 that is under government inspection. According to a December 2023 report, current plans are for the land to be sold by June 2024.

At the hearing, council officers said the land is being sold off in two parts to Lidl and house-building firm Vistry by the Wirral Growth Company. Vistry will then sell onto Alpha Living part of that land to develop the extra care housing.

On 31 October, officers said the new Lidl plans were “well advanced” and expected to be delivered first in 2024 followed by the 80 extra care apartments and 15 homes in 2025 and then another 30 homes in 2026-27.

To show it can deliver the thousands of homes required to be built in Wirral in its local plan, the council had to present evidence about each of its projects and why they’re deliverable. This includes showing how it will build houses in the next five years.

Brian O’Connor who was representing a number of developers challenging the plan said, “This site just shows what it’s like on the ground in the Wirral and the timescales we’re talking about to get planning applications determined.”

He pointed out the original application was submitted in 2022 and criticised the length of time it took to progress sites, adding, “The onus is on the council to demonstrate it’s deliverable whereas we’re just getting verbal updates.”

Christopher Katkowski KC, a legal representative for the council, said, “If you look at the trajectory, we’re got these in effect bang in the middle of the five years so they could move or two years to the right and still be in the five years.”

He said the sites were as close as they could be without being completed, adding, “As far as we’re concerned, the evidence is perfectly good enough.”

In December 2023, Wirral Council also rejected plans to sell land near a roundabout in Upton for a new Lidl there. This could have earned the council £1m but concerns were raised about the loss of a green space and potential traffic issues.

Lidl is currently in the process of reviewing options for a new Lidl store in Upton. The company previously said it was disappointed by the decision.

Wirral Council were contacted for an update on the development at Pasture Road.

Image: How the new Lidl in Moreton could look. Credit: Wirral Growth Company

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