Lidl makes bid for second store twice the size of Finsbury Park outlet 200m away

The Arts Building, off Stroud Green Road. Picture: U+I

The Arts Building, off Stroud Green Road. Picture: U+I - Credit: U+I

Budget supermarket Lidl has teamed up with a developer in a bid to open a second store twice the size, just 200m down the road from its Finsbury Park outlet.

Developer U+I Property Ltd already submitted a similar application to Islington Council in December to change the planning use of the ground floor of the six and seven-storey Arts Building in Morris Place from business to retail, which was rejected two months later. U+I could not tell the Gazette what would differentiate a second application, which has not yet been submitted, from the first.

Islington Council’s core strategy aims to safeguard existing business space by protecting against change of use to non-business uses, unless in exceptional circumstances. These must be demonstrated through clear and robust evidence which shows there is no demand for the floorspace as a business use, and evidence must demonstrate the space has been vacant and marketed for at least two years. Otherwise, a robust market demand analysis which supplements any marketing and vacancy evidence may be considered acceptable.

The Walnut cafe occupied a ground floor unit in the building until last year, when it closed because owner Emma Duggan couldn’t afford the rent, and has since been empty.

Lidl said a new shop off Stroud Green Road would “complement the offer” of its nearby store in Seven Sisters Road, and would include a larger section for non-food products and a fresh bakery.

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The upper five floors of the building would continue to be let for a range of business uses.

A spokesperson for U+I claimed that converting the ground floor to retail would “bring life to the street and offer valuable facilities for local people”.

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They added: “The Arts Building will incorporate a mix of uses to appeal to a broad range of businesses, from creative enterprises to high street brands.

“With a surplus of vacant office space nearby, and more coming forward in other nearby developments currently on site, the plans would also create greater diversity in the local market.”

U+I brought the 57,000 sq ft site off John Jones in January for a fee rumoured to be in the region of £15million.

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