Leytonstone News

Aldi seeks council permission to open food store at closed Matalan site

Documents reveal that the popular supermarket chain is seeking permission for “two retail units” in the old Matalan Leytonstone site, which shut for good on 7th January

By Marco Marcelline

Proposed store signage. Credit: Vector DC / The Harris Partnership

Planning permission documents submitted to the council reveal that Aldi is seeking the green light for the creation of “two retail units” at the recently shut Matalan site in Leytonstone.

While the documents exclusively refer to Aldi as a “food retailer”, a cover letter that was submitted to the council by consultancy firm Planning Potential, lets slip that proposed “minor works” to the site’s existing service area would allow for “Aldi’s servicing vehicles to connect direct to the building” thus “significantly reducing noise associated with deliveries”.

The letter additionally reveals that Aldi or its representatives participated in “positive pre-application discussions” with council officers, who wrote a response on 30th March last year.

The documents also include reference to a “second operator” who is referred to as a “food retailer” who is set to occupy the proposed second retail unit at the site. Social media has been awash with claims that clothing and food retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) will move into the site. M&S did not respond to the Echo‘s request for comment.

If approved, the first retail unit would be 1,545 sqm, while the second would number 2,015 sqm.

For a “less cluttered and open pedestrian route” between the old Matalan site and St John’s Church next to it, permission is also sought for the removal of two “minor” trees as well as the removal of a section of the building’s existing roof canopy. The removal of the “overbearing” roof canopy is argued to “pay due respect to the Church’s listed building status”.

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The cover letter also states that the proposals would “strengthen the overall vitality and viability of [Leytonstone town] centre” and create “circa 100 new local retail jobs”.

According to one of the local planning documents, access to the site’s car park will remain as existing via Kirkdale Road, though parking numbers will be reduced from 138 to a proposed 122. These will include eight accessible, ten parent and child, and two active electric vehicle spaces.

Waltham Forest Council deputy leader Ahsan Khan said: “The council has received a planning application for minor works to the former Matalan site to allow for the creation of two retail units. The application will be determined in the next few weeks, having already been subject to full public consultation. We anticipate we will receive further details on the owner’s plans for this key site following the planning decision.”

In its Local Plan regeneration document for Leytonstone, the council earmarked Matalan as a redevelopment spot as having potential for “c.190 homes” as well as “new retail, commercial, cultural space”. The retail store and the nearby McDonald’s are described in the document as having “eroded parts of the historic high street grain”.

The Echo asked the council if it had any intention to pursue housing at the site. Cllr Khan responded: “In the longer-term, the Local Plan identifies the site as a potential location for mixed-use town centre development. There are currently no housing development proposals for the site.”

It is unclear when Aldi plan to open. An Aldi spokesperson said: “We are always considering new locations for stores in areas across the UK, including in Leytonstone. If and when we have confirmed a location for a new store we will update the community.”

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