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Southend Council called idiots for refusing Eastwood Lidl plan
A FORMER Southend mayor has branded councillors idiots after they rejected plans for a supermarket that many residents hoped would regenerate Eastwood.
Nora Goodman spoke out after Southend Council approved initial plans for 15 small industrial and commercial units on the site of the derelict Safestore, in Progress Road, instead of a proposal by Lidl.
Safestore, which is the site owner, had backed Lidl and warned the alternative plan would never happen.
Of 620 residents who returned questionnaires at a meeting at St David’s Church, in Rayleigh Road, in April, 96 per cent backed the supermarket.
Following the decision, former mayor Mrs Goodman, who is chairman of Eastwood Residents’ Association, said: “I’ve fought long and hard to get the Lidl and all the residents I have spoken to were 100 per cent behind it.
“Those idiots are talking about a non-existent company moving in.”
The Rev Teresa Rutterford, of Cornec Chase, Eastwood, said: “Having a Lidl there would have been the best thing to happen to Eastwood for a long time. We need it, everyone wants it and this is an appalling decision by the council.
“Now we are faced with a derelict building, which we have tolerated for three years, when we could be seeing the site cleared and a shop built.
“We are stuck with something that looks tacky and downtrodden.”
Lidl is believed to have offered Safetore £1million for the site.
At a heated public meeting last Wednesday, the site owners came out against the business park plan.
David Penniston, property director for the firm, said: “It’s entirely speculative and in our view it’s wholly uncommercial and unviable.”
Lidl is expected to appeal the decision, delaying any development by at least six months.
Lidl would have created 40 jobs, but councillors sided with planning officers’ advice that the site should be kept for commercial or industrial use rather than retail.
The new Lidl would have been built on part of the adjacent Essex Timber site, forcing it to close with the loss of at least 12 jobs.
Owner Raife Clarke, who is believed to be part of the opposing consortium, said: “We are delighted.
“It’s the right answer for Southend.”
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