GERMAN retailer Lidl is set to open a second supermarket in Oxford which developers say will increase the 'vitality and viability' of Cowley.

A planning application has been submitted to Oxford City Council to change the use of a unit at Templars Retail Park, which currently houses Matalan, to make way for the budget food store.

The new Lidl is expected to have a floor space of 1,244 sqm and the proposals include removing the upper floor of the clothing store.

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If approved, it would give greater supermarket choice to Cowley shoppers with a Sainsbury’s superstore already based at the Between Towns Road site, which also has a TK Maxx, Poundland, Halfords and Asda Living.

A retail assessment submitted with the proposal argued that the area currently had a relatively low number of food shopping options compared to other parts of the city and adding a discount food store would 'significantly enhance' what was available.

Oxford Mail:

It went on to say the scheme would 'complement' a £60m regeneration of Templars Square Shopping Centre, which is opposite the retail park. Approved two years ago, plans include more than 200 homes, shops, two restaurants and a hotel.

The assessment said: "These regeneration proposals, combined with the investment in a new foodstore, will significantly increase the vitality and viability of the centre."

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The application by site owner PGIM Real Estate is asking for a variation in the deed of the retail park, which was last changed in 2013 to state no other units but Sainsbury's could have more than 20 per cent of their floorspace used for food sales.

As part of the proposal an assessment of the impact on transport was also submitted and it maintained the affect would be 'minimal'.

Oxford Mail:

It added, however, 'to mitigate the impacts' of additional traffic it proposed a £15,000 upgrade be added to the park's access junction from Between Towns Road.

This would detect pedestrians using the crossing to 'maximise efficiency' for cars leaving and entering the shopping park.

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The document concluded: "While the net impacts of the proposals are limited, it is acknowledged that the highway network in the vicinity of the site is busy, with traffic levels expected to increase due to background growth."

Matalan was contacted but did not confirm whether it intends to open a new store in Oxford. No opening dates has been revealed for the Lidl store.

Oxford Mail:

The Cowley supermarket will join one already in Watlington Road, Oxford, as well as current Oxfordshire stores in Wallingford, Witney and Bicester.

Lidl is continuing its expansion into the county with new supermarkets also planned for Fairacres Retail Park in Abingdon and Grove.

The deadline to submit comments on the application via is today.