Lidl Plans For 1.2million sq ft Regional Distribution Centre

by Alan D Winter, Houghton Regis News Desk
Lidl, a family supermarket that takes pride in providing its customers with the highest quality products at the lowest possible prices, is on the verge of starting work on building its biggest ever Distribution Centre on Houghton Regis' doorstep.

Outline plans for the development were agreed under the existing Central Bedfordshire Council consent (CB/12/03613/OUT) and now a reserved matters application has been submitted. The company is now seeking approval for these plans, which could be concluded in March 2020.

The development proposals comprise the construction of a Regional Distribution Centre (RDC) of over  1.2 million sq ft of warehouse floor space, 612 associated car parking spaces, 141 HGV stacking spaces, 196 loading docks, 20 E-charging spaces, a drivers lounge, smoking shelters, two bicycle stores with 104 spaces for bicycles, four haulier cabins, three battery enclosures, a generator enclosure, sprinkler tanks, pump house hydrant tanks, gas and electric substations, 2 bus stops on Woodside Link, and a comprehensive landscaping scheme.

The site to be developed is sandwiched between the Woodside Link and the M1 motorway northbound slip road for J11A, to the east of Houghton Regis, in Chalton parish.

Site boundary is next to the M1 motorway north of Luton.

The site has been an agricultural field for the duration of the mapped period.  Overhead electricity power lines with several pylons on-site were present in the 1970s and removed and redirected around the site by 2010.

Under the Linmere plan, areas shown in grey, below, will also be developed over time.

The site is within an easy walking distance of  Chalton, Tithe Farm, Parkside, and Lewsey Farm

Employment

Construction is expected to start in 2021 with a 2-year build.

It is expected that the Lidl facility will engage approximately 700 staff on-site during any given 24 hour period. Around 90% of staff will be based in the warehouse with an expectation of three shifts of 8 hours each. The office staff are likely to be flexibly employed between 8am and 6pm. Job vacancies will be advertised locally so as to encourage people living within walking and cycling distance of the site to apply for positions at the warehouse.

Construction Hours

Jubb has been appointed by Lidl GB Ltd to complete a Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP)  for the proposed warehouse development. (See CEMP plan 20.12.2019 )

Working hours of the site shall be restricted to minimise disruption.  Normal  working  hours will  be in accordance with Condition 17 of the outline consent:
Monday –Friday: 08:00 –19:00
Saturday: 08:30 –13:00

Construction traffic is to enter the site via Junction 11A of the M1 Motorway and head south along the Woodside Link following signs to the site. The permanent site entrance will have to be formed off the roundabout accessed off Woodside Link.

Design


Plans show that HGVs would enter and exit the site via an existing roundabout.

The northernmost area of the site is to consist of car and lorry parking.  HGVs would enter the site from an existing roundabout, circulate the site, and exit via the same roundabout. Staff car parking would be totally separated. A staff-only entry and exit road would be constructed off of the Woodside Link.

Extensive wide landscaping is planned around the site

Design Images

IMA Architects have put together their designs in the planning documents. These help to visualise what the site will look like. To avoid a large block appearance, roof heights have been staggered as an outcome of the consultation process.

The warehouse is designed to be divided into Chilled, Freezer, Recycling,  and Ambient areas. There will also be Admin and Canteen areas, and a Drivers lounge block with toilets, kitchenette and relaxation area.

The development proposals are in accordance with the Area Masterplan and Area Design Code for the site, approved by Central Bedfordshire Council on the 8th November 2019.
The 2 storey administration accommodation is located on the northern and western elevations of the warehouse facing Woodside Link Road.


Drainage

The surface water drainage strategy for the proposed development will include the construction of a new on-site surface water network. The surface water flows will discharge from the site to an adjacent attenuation pond. The foul water flows will discharge to an existing 450mm diameter Thames Water Foul Sewer located to the south of the site. Beyond the southern boundary are basins forming part of the primary surface water drainage infrastructure for the wider development area.

About Lidl

Since establishing itself in Great Britain in 1994, Lidl has experienced continuous growth and today has over 22,500 employees, 760 stores and 13 distribution centres in England, Scotland and Wales. As part of the Schwarz retail group, Lidl is one of Europe’s leading organisations in the food retail industry. With a presence in 30 countries around the world, the supermarket, which has more than 287,000 employees globally, currently operates approximately 10,800 stores and more than 160 distribution centres in 29 countries globally

The family supermarket takes pride in providing its customers with the highest quality products at the lowest possible prices throughout Great Britain, from Kirkwall to the Isle of Wight. Social responsibility and sustainability are at the core of the company's daily operations, with the company placing a strong emphasis on its responsibility for people, society and the environment.  Lidl GB is passionate about working with British producers and sources two-thirds of its products from British suppliers.

From March 2020, entry-level wages at Lidl in the UK will increase from £9.00 to £9.30 per hour outside of London.  Lidl’s entry-level wages are between 13-30% higher than the government’s ‘National Living Wage’.

Further Information

The planning application number is CB/19/04263/RM. This can be searched for on the CBC Planning website. This is a short-cut to see the plan details. Comments on the application can be emailed to planning.online@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk quoting the application number.

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