Work on the new Lidl store at the former Lucas factory site in Mere Green appears to be making slow progress since work got under way back in November. The store is expected to be completed some time this year.
While the work is progressing, traffic has been affected by the comings and going of construction traffic and temporary traffic lights, while dozens of letters of objection had previously been received from residents raising concerns over traffic levels and pollution fears.
The site has now been fenced off after diggers and bulldozers converged on the former industrial site in Mere Green Road, Sutton Coldfield.
Work does appear to be going at something of a snail’s pace when other Lidl stores, notably the newest one in Lichfield appeared to get built in no time at all. When asked for a progress report on the work or a potential opening date, Lidl had little to offer other than the obvious. A statement said: “We can confirm that construction has started on site and we will be issuing a release with full details of the store for the local community in due course.”
The former contaminated site has been an eyesore for many years, following the factory demolition and the time needed to get rid of the contamination at the site
This two-acre site is now being developed despite original plans being sent back to the drawing board during the planning process, before finally being approved. One local councillor described the original Lidl design as looking like a brown and white shed.
The site will include the store and a number of parking spaces, finally opening up a site that has been blocked off with blue boarding for more than 10 years.
The store will offer a budget alternative to the giant Sainsbury’s store opposite, but is sure to create extra traffic and congestion in the busy Mere Green area. However there will be new jobs and a likely boost to the local economy with increased footfall.
The development could be the final piece in the jigsaw in the renaissance of Mere Green. The area been blighted for years with rows of boarded up shops, but that finally gave way to the Mulberry Walk development. Anchored by the Marks & Spencer food hall, the new shops and a number of smart bars, restaurants, coffee shops and a gym, complement the existing shops on Lichfield Road.
Four Oaks ward councillor Maureen Cornish has broadly welcomed the new store. She previously said: “Lidl will provide versatile shopping giving the public more choice, it will increase the footfall and competition between similar stores provides shoppers.”