DISCOUNT retail giant Aldi has confirmed it is in talks to build a new supermarket on the edge of New Milton – setting it in direct competition with the town’s large Tesco store just metres away.
The German grocery chain hopes to launch a store on land currently owned by New Milton Sand and Ballast in Caird Avenue.
The development, which is not yet the subject of a formal planning application, is part of a wider scheme to enhance and redevelop the aggregate sorting and storage facility on land to the east of Caird Avenue.
A spokesperson for Aldi, which has an outlet in Christchurch, told the A&T: “Aldi knows its customers are currently travelling out of the New Milton area for its award-winning offer, and has been interested in opening a local store for some time.
“A site has become available in Caird Avenue and Aldi has been working with the site owners to bring the site forward.
“Aldi is now in the process of compiling a formal planning application, and will be providing further details to both local residents and stakeholders prior to submission.”
Aldi is currently the UK’s fifth largest supermarket with over 830 stores and 32,000 employees and by 2025 the firm aims to operate over 1,200 stores nationwide.
New Milton mayor Cllr Alvin Reid confirmed the town council had been in talks regarding what he described as a “well known German retail outlet” and the potential redevelopment of the Caird Avenue site.
He said: “We would absolutely welcome a new retail outlet for New Milton. Anyone who has visited Sainsbury’s at Christchurch will know that the shelves are often empty – there is a shortage of retail outlets and especially supermarkets in this area.
“With the new houses that are planned around New Milton the demand will be even greater for supermarkets and competition is good for all of us. I think this is really something that will benefit the town enormously.”
Rob Flower, managing director New Milton Sand and Ballast (NMSB), said the company was investing significantly in the existing business at Caird Avenue to support its future growth and longevity.
He said: “The Aldi scheme is just part of bigger design for the whole NMSB site. We are investing in the town and have been working very closely with New Milton Town Council on our plans for tidying up and developing the site for the last two years.
“New Milton Town Council and Aldi have identified that there is a real shortage of supermarkets to the east of New Milton so I think people will really welcome this news.”
Mr Flower said NMSB would continue to operate the eastern end of the Caird Avenue site and confirmed that future plans also included the development of an office complex close to the site entrance.
He said: “We have been working with all the relevant authorities including New Milton Town Council, who have been very supportive with our plans, on how best to develop and strengthen our business with regard to mineral processing of primary and secondary aggregates, concrete production, the growth of the Hibbs Builders Merchants, and the parking of our fleet of HGVs.
“Our long term plans are very much to continue to expand our business and remain part of New Milton.
“We are pleased that Aldi are planning to build a new store at Caird Avenue. If Aldi are successful, this would allow NMSB to start to deliver further developments to the site.
“This is all part of a larger development plan for NMSB, which will allow growth and the modernisation of the business for the long-term across all current and future sites.”
A spokesperson for New Forest District Council, the planning authority, said: “We have been approached informally by NMSB about proposals for the site but cannot comment further on the details. “