PLANS for the first discount supermarket in Verwood are in line to be approved this week.

Dorset Council’s eastern planning committee will be asked to grant planning permission for Lidl to open in the town when it meets on Wednesday (September 30).

The German chain said its store would “increase both the vitality and viability” of the town centre.

It submitted its application in August last year, outlining plans to redevelop land between Ringwood Road and Crescent Road which has been used to store caravans.

A statement submitted with its proposals says the provision of a discount supermarket in the town would “complement” existing shops and reduce the need for people to travel further afield.

“While…discounters such as Lidl have become an increasingly popular destination for food shopping there is no such store within Verwood,” it says.

“Residents of Verwood and nearby surrounding areas are therefore compelled to drive to other local towns to reach discount food retailers. Consequently, there is a lot of leakage of convenience spend to other towns.

“Approval of the Lidl proposals will serve to retain this expenditure and increase both the vitality and viability of Verwood town centre.”

Lidl said the new store would open between 7am and 10pm Monday-Saturday and 10am and 5pm on Sundays and bank holidays and would create about 40 jobs.

But its application has attracted dozens of letters of objection raising concerns including the suitability of the site and potential noise and traffic issues created because of the new supermarket.

READ: New Lidl plan not supported by Verwood Town Council>>>

As a result of the objections, a final decision has been referred to Dorset Council’s eastern planning committee for a decision.

However, in a report, planning officer Naomi Shinkins recommends that councillors approve the scheme.

She says the new supermarket would “not have a harmful impact on the vitality of Verwood town centre” and that although use of the site would intensify, her initial concerns about the impact on people living nearby had been overcome.

“While there will be some impact on neighbouring amenity as a result of the change and intensification of use,” her report says, “it is the officer’s opinion that the proposal would not result in an unduly harmful impact on the amenity of the neighbouring residents that would warrant refusal.”

A final decision will be made by councillors on Wednesday.