Lidl Eltham store proposal

Source: Lidl

A CGI of the proposed Eltham scheme

Lidl is planning a whopping 31,000 sq ft supermarket along with 71 residential homes in its latest use of mixed-use schemes to help secure planning permission in London.

The proposed development would sit on a 1.1 acre site which is currently home to a 1930s building leased to Mecca Bingo in Eltham, south east London.

The building, which was originally an Odeon cinema, would be replaced with a six-storey block consisting of a Lidl store on the ground and first floor and residential homes above.

The store would be one of Lidl’s biggest in the UK, at 4,500 sq ft over the maximum specified in its latest site requirement brochure. However, Lidl insists the size is in line with some of its other two-storey stores – which it refers to as metropolitan – in Bexleyheath, Epsom and Welling. Some of the proposed Eltham space is taken up by a car park with 46 spaces at ground floor level and travelators leading to the shopfloor above.

Another section of the development is to provide three storeys of residential accommodation along with parking, in plans that also include courtyards and landscaped gardens.

Lidl is attempting to sell the freehold of the site to a developer to take forward the plans, subject to approval by the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The discounter plans to then lease back the store from the developer.

It is the latest in a series of mixed-use schemes in which Lidl has leased back stores from developers in recent years, including a unit in Alperton, north west London, which opened in 2022 with more than 250 residential units.

Mixed-use schemes are seen as useful in gaining planning permission – a major headwind for the store opening plans of both Lidl and Aldi – as well as adding value to the development for the retailer.

Others from Lidl include a 12,000 sq ft store with a primary school above it in Richmond, west London, which opened in 2021.

Retail analyst Nick Bubb said Lidl’s preference remained standalone units in what was “still very much a cookie-cutter approach” to new stores. “But they certainly seem to be having to build more community space into their London stores,” he added.

Shore Capital’s Clive Black said larger metropolitan stores were also giving Lidl “another string to its bow”, making its offering “a little more in-tune to the UK shopper than Aldi, albeit with lower sales densities and market share”.

Lidl has been the fastest-growing supermarket in Britain for five months in row, according to Kantar, with sales up 11.9% in the latest 12-week period, to 21 January.

Having been the fastest-growing in September, Aldi had slipped back to third-fastest in the latest 12 weeks, with sales up 7.2%, behind Sainsbury’s 8.1% growth.