A CONTROVERSIAL food store approved by councillors yesterday will be an outlet for discount chain Aldi, it has been revealed.

The application by Peel Group for the 1,254 square metre shop on its Whitebirk retail park near Rishton, was given the green light by Hyndburn Council planning committee.


But, already, neighbouring Blackburn with Darwen borough have asked Secretary of State for Local Government Greg Clark to ‘call in’ the scheme to reconsider and possibly reverse the decision.

It and The Mall Blackburn’s owners Capital and Regional, and Hyndburn Chamber of Trade had all objected to the new proposal.

They claimed Peel’s application was a bid to change the development into a general out-of-town shopping centre ‘through the back door’. Peel strongly deny this.

In August 2014 Britain’s top judges threw out a legal attempt by Peel to change it into a £16million shopping complex with food and fashion retailers.

The UK Supreme Court decision ended a ten-year battle with Hyndburn and Blackburn with Darwen Councils and local retailers.

The Whitebirk site currently only has planning permission to sell bulky, home improvement and electrical goods.

Blackburn with Darwen regeneration boss Phil Riley said last night: “We are clearly disappointed with this decision.”

A Hyndburn council spokesman said: “The planning application for the development of an Aldi at the Peel Centre was approved by the council’s planning committee subject to the application not being called in by the Secretary of State and subject to the planning conditions set out in the report .”

Those conditions include that the foodstore shall not be used for: 

  • the retail sale of tobacco and smoking products.
  • a staffed fresh meat and fish counter;
  • a staffed delicatessen counter;
  • a dispensing pharmacy;
  • a dry cleaning service;
  • a staffed photo-shop;
  • Post Office services ; and
  • an in-store café.

The conditions also include highway works including improved traffic lights at both access junctions and two new bus shelters on the A678.

The store design statement says: “In keeping with the desire to modernise the retail park and accommodate Aldi’s business model, the unit will be finished with a combination of polished forticrete block and silver cladding. The store entrance will also be notable by a large anthracite canopy that sits above the glazing.”