DIVISIVE plans to build a new out-of-town Lidl will have a “negative and adverse impact” on the nearby town centre, a property consultant has warned. 

Dorset Council has asked Lambert Smith Hampton to provide independent advice on how a new Lidl proposed on land in Sandford Road will impact nearby Wareham. 

Earlier this year, the firm conducted surveys and analysis of how the new Lidl – which has split opinion with residents – would impact existing retailers. 

The report, published by the council, said Lidl’s new 1,411 square metre sales area supermarket could see a negative effect on retail as far as Swanage. 

Dorset Echo: Lidl's new plansLidl's new plans (Image: CGI by One Design Architects)

Christine Reeves, a consultant at Lambert Smith Hampton, said: “It remains the case that the proposal will have a negative/adverse impact on Wareham town centre and, to a lesser extent on Swanage and Carey Road.  

“As such this will need to be considered by the local planning authority when assessing the merits of the application proposals against the up-to-date development plan policies and provisions. 

“We would also reiterate that, if the council is minded to grant planning permission, then we strongly advise that appropriate planning conditions are put in place to ensure that the use remains in accordance with the assessment provided.  

“This would include controlling the overall store size, the net sales area, and the split between convenience and comparison goods sales area.” 

Dorset Echo: Lidl plansLidl plans

The report suggests that the total turnover of Wareham town centre could fall from £30.99m in 2022 to £28.94m in 2026, a decline of nearly seven per cent. 

“This will be on top of the other financial challenges being faced by retail businesses,” the report adds. 

However, most of the lost trade will hit Sainsbury’s, in South Street, which has been described as “over-trading”. 

Hundreds of residents have written letters of support and objection to Dorset Council over the plans which were submitted in September 2022. 

Those in objection say the new supermarket would bring in extra traffic to Sandford and along the A351. 

Meanwhile, those in support argue that it would be nice to have a new budget supermarket close to Wareham – with some having to commute to Poole or Dorchester for shopping. 

Lidl has said that the new supermarket would create up to 40 jobs and that "little or no trade" would be taken from nearby shops.

A decision has yet to be made on the application, but it is expected to go to committee.