A PROPOSED new supermarket at Inshes in Inverness could undermine efforts to cut car journeys and reduce carbon emissions in the city, council officials say.
Lidl wants to develop a grocery store and up to 38 homes on a greenfield site in Sir Walter Scott Drive – near Inshes roundabout – but supermarket giant Asda has opposed it citing a variety of reasons including the impact on retail.
Highland Council planning officials also say this is contrary to the proposed local development plan for Inner Moray Firth.
They also argue that it will attract car journeys from existing and proposed residential areas east of the A9 and from southern areas of Inverness.
Their comments are contained in a response to the cumulative retail impact assessment recently submitted by Lidl which argues that the proposed store – as well as the proposed floor space as part of the Stratton development in the east of Inverness – will not adversely affect the town center or other nearby shopping parks and local centres.
Officers agree that it is very unlikely to have a negative effect on the overall vitality and viability of the protected centers listed in the local development plan.
But they note that the site boundary is much larger than the grocery store footprint, the proposed second phase of housing is indicative, and the proposed road alignment would allow easy comparison of retail units at a later date. instead of housing.
Officers also cite the Scottish Government’s targets to reduce car miles traveled in Scotland by 20% by 2030.
“This application to this location will do nothing to help achieve this goal – indeed, it is very likely to undermine progress towards it,” the officers say.
“In contrast, another location, ideally in the center of the eastern wards of Inverness, would, all things being equal, be very likely to help achieve this goal.”
They say that given the Aldi store in Inshes, there is no local lack of convenient discounted floor space in Drakies/Inshes.
“In short, a Lidl on this site would not offer anything more in terms of price, quality, range and service to avoid longer journeys by unsustainable modes of travel”, they continue.
“Indeed, it will do the opposite. It will attract car journeys from existing and proposed residential areas to the east of the A9 (and southern areas of Inverness).