IT was third time lucky for Lidl after councillors granted planning permission for a bigger supermarket in Wilmslow – but the decision could still be overturned.

At a meeting this morning, members of Cheshire East Council’s northern planning committee gave the German giant the green light for a 2,292sq m store in Summerfields Village – just 300ft away from its current store.

But the secretary of state is due to consider Lidl’s application and CEC’s decision before giving the final seal of approval.

The application had been twice deferred by the committee in December and February, even though planning officers recommended the scheme for approval from the start – despite 491 objections sent to CEC from residents and concerns raised by Esther McVey, MP for Tatton.

Stuart Jardine, head of property at Lidl UK, told councillors: “Since February Lidl has made some significant changes [to the scheme].

“The site is now smaller, there are now 19 more car parking spaces and we have moved the property further away to the east.

“No retailers or other businesses have objected. The existing site is over 20 years old and is no longer fit for purpose. This is not just Lidl’s opinion, this is what our customers tell us.”

Lidl’s proposed store, at the former Energie gym’s site, is smaller than first planned and would feature a new bakery, toilets and additional storage space.

Cllr Barry Burkhill, independent member for Handforth, suggested the proposed store ‘flies in the face’ of CEC’s own planning guidance, which is designed to protect town centres.

“As ward councillor I consider this to be a development at all costs,” he said.

“This would be borne by the local community and add to the decline of Wilmslow and Handforth’s centres.”

Cllr David Pincombe, planning committee chairman at Wilmslow Town Council, agreed with Cllr Burkhill and told members that traffic would also be an issue for residents.

However, Cllr Alift Harewood, Labour member for Macclesfield West and Ivy, questioned the impact a bigger Lidl would have on other businesses.

“This is a business that has been there for 20 years with no demonstrable negative impact,” she said.

A similar planning case to replace a gym with a Lidl in Birmingham, which was rejected at the High Court, was raised by resident Richard Armstead in opposition to the scheme.

The meeting was adjourned for 15 minutes while officers considered the new evidence, before stating they were still satisfied to recommend the Wilmslow scheme as Lidl had already conducted surveys on the existing store’s use.

The application was approved by 10 votes to two.

Meanwhile, an application to demolish the County Hotel to make way for new apartments in nearby Alderley Edge was withdrawn by officers before today’s planning meeting.