Has budget store set its sights set on town?

GV of Aldi site in Wellingborough Road, Weston Favell.
GV of Aldi site in Wellingborough Road, Weston Favell.

Shoppers in Hemel Hempstead could soon be enjoying knocked down supermarket prices when stocking up the kitchen cupboards.

It is understood that a discount supermarket is eyeing up the former home of furniture retailer MFI, which closed its Redbourn Road base in 2008.

In June this year an outline application for a deep-discount food store was given the green light by planning chiefs at Dacorum Borough Council.

And now, if rumours are to be believed, Aldi has got its sights set on the spot. However, if successful the store would have to submit a full planning application before any works could begin.

The original planning application, submitted in January, says the proposal will ‘introduce a new dimension of retailing, not currently found in Hemel Hempstead or Dacorum Borough in the form of a deep-discounted food store. The proposal will lead to a qualitative improvement in convenience shopping provision in Hemel Hempstead by providing a better range of price and products.”

It is expected that the new supermarket will create around 40 jobs, which will be ‘advertised locally and benefit local people’.

The outline permission gives the go ahead for a 1,500 retail unit along with 74 parking spaces, including four disabled bays and 12 secure cycle slots.

Rival brand Lidl has confirmed it is not pursuing the site but a spokesman for the supermarket did say: “Hemel Hempstead is a target town for Lidl and we hope to bring our offering to the area in the future.”

The town already has a Sainsbury’s store in Apsley; a Tesco at Jarman Park, which was expanded late last year, along with a smaller Express store in the town centre; with Asda and Marks and Spencer nearby. They will be joined by Morrisons by late 2015 or early 2016 as part of wider regeneration plans.

Aldi was not available to comment at the time of going to press.