Residents in Horncastle have given a resounding ‘thumbs up’ to plans by discount retailer Aldi to open a new supermarket in the town.
Aldi say they have already identified a site and intend to hold a public consultation before submitting a planning application ‘within the next six months.’
The Horncastle opening would be part of a county wide expansion which would create 200 jobs and also see new stores built in Mablethorpe, Brigg, Market Rasen and Skegness.
A new Louth outlet is already set to open next year.
The News spoke to 40 people in Horncastle last Thursday and only three were against the Aldi proposal.
Town Mayor and District Councillor Sandra Campbell Wardman and County Councillor Bill Aron gave cautious backing to the project.
There is already intense speculation about where the store would be located.
Aldi refused to reveal any details, but sources indicate the ‘Gymphlex’ complex on Boston Road could be among those under consideration.
Resident Tracey Bullen (37) said: “I think it (Aldi) is just what the town needs.
“Another supermarket is long overdue and it would be great to see an Aldi in town.”
Andrea Collins (26) added: “We have to drive to Lincoln to go to a decent supermarket and it costs petrol and time.
“Horncastle needs something and a new supermarket would definitely attract more people to the town.”
Mike Andrews (34) added: “Somewhere like an Aldi is long overdue.
“I don’t use the Co-op and to be honest, Tesco isn’t big enough and parking is a nightmare.
“I’m sure some business owners wouldn’t be happy but it’s a competitive market. An Aldi would be brilliant. I’d use it and so would my friends.”
Alan Beacham (54) said: “We need more shops in Horncastle but why another supermarket. There’s three already - four if you count Heron. That’s more than enough. We’re a market town - not a supermarket town.”
An Aldi spokesman said: “I can confirm we have identified a site in Horncastle and we will be progressing forward with a planning application on the next six months, preceded by a public consultation.
“We regularly receive letters from residents showing support for an Aldi planning application and we look forward to beginning the process.
“If planning permission is granted, it is likely the store will open early 2016 - at the earliest.”
When pressed, the spokesman said he could not comment on speculation about a potential site.
Coun Campbell-Wardman said: “I can’t really comment as a councillor until we have a few more details but all the people I’ve spoken to seem to think it is a good idea.
“I’m sure there will be some opposition but you have got to move with the times.”
Coun Aron, who is chairman of the Town Council’s planning committee, said he was not aware of a potential site and had not spoken to Aldi.
He added: “I would think a new supermarket would be popular but a lot would depend on where it is - and whether it would get planning permission.”
Apart from Boston Road, other sites mentioned have included part of The Wong (owned by East Lindsey District Council), the old Cattle Market and even a possible Aldi buy out of the existing Tesco store.
It is understood, though, that Tesco are planning a major refurbishment.
Aldi were also linked with taking over the Co-op in Conging Street but the company recently announced a new-look store, also involving Peacocks.
One possible problem for Aldi could be an official report by ELDC - written three years ago - that indicated there was ‘no demand’ for another supermarket in Horncastle.