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Concern over increased car travel if new Lidl supermarket gets Inverness go-ahead

By Val Sweeney

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Lidl supermarket has met opposition.
Lidl supermarket has met opposition.

A PROPOSED new supermarket at Inshes in Inverness could undermine efforts to reduce car journeys and cut carbon emissions in the city, according to council officers.

Lidl wants to develop a food store and up to 38 homes on a greenfield site in Sir Walter Scott Drive – close to Inshes roundabout – but the plans have been opposed by supermarket giant Asda citing various reasons including the retail impact.

Highland Council planning officers also say it is against the proposed Inner Moray Firth local development plan.

They also maintain it will draw car-based journeys from existing and proposed residential neighbourhoods east of the A9 and from south Inverness neighbourhoods.

Their comments are contained in a response to Lidl’s recently-submitted cumulative retail impact assessment which contends the proposed store – along with retail floorspace proposed as part of the Stratton development in east Inverness – will not adversely affect the city centre or other nearby retail parks and local centres.

Officers agree it is very unlikely to have an adverse effect on the overall vitality and viability of protected centres listed in the local development plan.

But they note the site boundary is much larger than the footprint of the foodstore, the proposed second phase of housing indicative, and the proposed road layout would easily allow later comparison retail units in place of the housing.

Officers also cite Scottish Government targets to reduce car kilometres travelled in Scotland by 20 per cent by 2030.

“This application in this location will do nothing to help meet this target – indeed it is very likely to undermine progress towards it,” officers state.

“In contrast, another location, ideally central to the east Inverness neighbourhoods, would, other things being equal, be very likely to help meet this target.”

They say given the Aldi store at Inshes, there is no local deficiency of discount convenience floorspace at Drakies/Inshes.

“In short, a Lidl on this site wouldn’t offer anything more in terms of price, quality, range and service to prevent longer journeys by unsustainable travel modes,” they continue.

“Indeed it will do the opposite. It will draw car-based journeys from existing and proposed residential city neighbourhoods east of the A9 (and from south Inverness neighbourhoods).”

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