Upton Lidl plans will not go ahead

A grassy area of land next to a busy Wirral roundabout will not be sold to supermarket chain Lidl.

Wirral Council officers had asked councillors to consider an £840,000 offer from Lidl to buy an area of land on Arrowe Park Road next to the Upton by-pass roundabout near a Sainsburys. This was on the condition any new supermarket plans were approved by planning.

If the new supermarket was built, its car park would have been built on the land and was expected to bring at least £160,000 a year in business rates into the council.

However, it was rejected over traffic concerns at the roundabout, the loss of mature trees, public footpaths, and the impact on independent shops in Upton village. Previous proposals in 2020 to sell the land to Lidl had been opposed by 1,400 people and councillors said people had demonstrated an “overwhelming strength of feeling” on the latest offer.

Speaking against the proposal, Stephanie Miller raised concerns about air pollution. She said, “We are talking about the most over-used and dangerous roundabout in Wirral,” adding, “You will be creating a recipe for environmental and health catastrophe.”

Ms Miller told councillors, “We have a choice. A few pounds off your local shop or a few years off your life. Therefore I beg you to save our green and open space.”

Upton’s councillors Stephen Bennett and Jean Robinson also made statements asking for the plans to be rejected citing an “overwhelming strength of feeling” against the plans and it was against the council’s draft Local Plan, a key policy that pledges to build at least 14,000 homes over the next two decades.

Cllr Liz Grey said the roundabout was regularly gridlocked with traffic, and would “pitch foreign big business against local independents” in Upton village.

During the debate, similar issues were raised with the possible sale though Cllr Jeff Green said he was opposed but acknowledged there were possible benefits from bringing money into the council and providing a discount food shop during the current cost of living crisis.

Wirral Council leader Paul Stuart said, “This isn’t guaranteed money. It is only money once the purchaser is satisfied they have got what they want, not what we want, not what our residents want.”

At the meeting, councillors also approved update reports on its new payment system, the future use of its town halls, and a new regeneration partnership that will oversee developments providing thousands of homes to try and avoid money being handed back to the government if schemes aren’t delivered on time.

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