Plans from Lidl to build a major new supermarket in Dunmow have been met with stern opposition from the country’s biggest retailer operating the only large superstore in the town.

Tesco, which operates a 5,400 square metre store less than a mile from where Lidl wants to build a 1,512 square metre store on land off Stortford Road says the plans are likely to have a "significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of Great Dunmow Town Centre".

However, comments from residents responding to a public consultation ahead of the submission of the plans include frustrations that Tesco has a "monopoly" in Dunmow.

One said: "Tesco has too much of a monopoly. Lidl will be a great competitive alternative".

Another said: "It’s a great idea, competition for Tesco, more choice for shoppers, more jobs in the area.”

Another added: "Tesco in Dunmow needs the competition. With all the new houses being built in the area we badly need more facilities and a more affordable shop."

However, there have been concerns raised about how the new Lidl store could impact traffic.

One resident said: "Wrong location, other end of town preferred due to new housing and schools near the proposed site will cause an increase in traffic."

Great Dunmow Town Council has also objected to the Lidl plans on the grounds of its impact on the road network and wildlife.

Tesco, which has recently completed a major extension to their operations, says the development contravenes the neighbourhood local plan.

It argues the proposed development would have a retail impact Great Dunmow town centre, adding: "Given the notably low proposed local threshold, high impact figures on the town centre and its principal convenience goods offer, and the related like-for-like competition, on balance it is considered that the proposed development would be likely to have a significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of Great Dunmow Town Centre, contrary to paragraph 95 of the NPPF."

Tesco has said the plans fall outside the town’s development area, as described by the Great Dunmow neighbourhood plan and it would impact the town centre business.

A statement said: "In accordance with section 38 of the planning and compulsory purchase act 2004, the application should therefore be refused unless any other material considerations would indicate otherwise.

"No such other material consideration exist that would indicate that determination should be made other than in accordance with the development plan.

"Indeed, several material consideration have been identified that weigh further against the granting of planning permission, namely the conflicts with the National Planning Policy Framework arising from the retail and heritage harm, and the further unresolved issues relating to highways and ecology."

The town council claims the development where it is proposed will add to traffic problems – a new through school is being developed almost adjacent.

It says: "The existing establishment on site closes at 5pm, Lidl would remain open until 10pm and the lights from vehicles exiting the site would directly impact the refuge for wildlife on the site of Specific Scientific Interest, High Wood, directly opposite the site.

"Access from the roundabout would significantly mitigate this issue although clarification how they propose to mitigate light pollution on High Wood as this is a valuable wildlife asset."

The store estimates there will be around 123 weekday peak AM trips a day between 8am and 9pm and 248 weekday peak PM trips between 4pm and 5pm.

On Saturdays it estimates there will be 316 peak Saturday peak trips between 12pm and 1pm.


Statement of a transport assessment published last month said: "Paragraph 115 of the NPPF states that development should only be prevented or refused on highways grounds if there would be an unacceptable impact on highway safety, or the residual cumulative impacts on the road network would be severe.

"The proposed development would have a minimal impact on the highway network.

"It is concluded that the development proposals are acceptable in highways and transportation terms. There are no highways or transportation-related reasons upon which a refusal of the planning application for the proposals would be justified."