Where’s the pedestrian access to new Welwyn Garden City Aldi?

PUBLISHED: 09:00 21 April 2018

The new Aldi in Welwyn Garden City. Picture Danny Loo

The new Aldi in Welwyn Garden City. Picture Danny Loo

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

Aldi shoppers are up in arms over a lack of pedestrian access to the new Welwyn Garden City store, saying it is “an accident waiting to happen”.

Eager shoppers queue up to get into the new Aldi store in Welwyn Garden City.
Picture: Nina MorganEager shoppers queue up to get into the new Aldi store in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Nina Morgan

The Welwyn Hatfield Times has received a number of letters and Welwyn Hatfield Council has also been inundated with complaints in connection with the new Bessemer Road store.

County councillor Dr Barbara Gibson, Lib Dem spokesman for public health and community safety, said: “The planning application, approved in September 2016, includes a drawing that shows a footway that does not exist.

“Other documents submitted, however, do not mention the footway, and the officer’s report fails to address pedestrian access at all.”

Shopper Julia Park, who went to the opening of the new store, wrote to the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “I was impressed with pleasant, helpful staff and good merchandising.

“However, I was very surprised by no consideration given to pedestrian safety.

“I do not drive and found no pedestrian footpath to walk to store entrance on site from Bessemer Road.

“As the store is set back from the road, I had to walk in the road which incoming and outgoing driving customers use.

“I then had to walk on the grass area on right, to avoid oncoming cars.

“The potential danger to pedestrians is obvious and more threatening to children walking with parents.

“Where was the ‘planning’ in this?”

An Aldi spokesperson said: “While our Welwyn Garden City store was built in accordance with the planning consent given, we are now working with the council and other local businesses to understand how we could improve access for our customers.”

A Welwyn Hatfield Council spokesman said: “We’ve had around 25 people get in touch about Aldi and the approved plans show a pedestrian link to Bridge Road East.”

The spokesman for the council confirmed a footway link shown on the plans does not exist and also falls outside of the application boundary.

Dr Gibson added: “How exactly does a council for a Garden City that claims to want us all to drive less allow a major new supermarket to open that has no pedestrian access?

“The new Aldi store in Welwyn Garden City opened recently to great fanfare, but residents arriving on foot immediately realised there is no safe way into the site for pedestrians.

“Customers on foot, wheelchair or mobility scooter are forced to brave the two lanes of traffic entering and exiting the car park.

“The pub does, indeed, have a separate gated pedestrian entrance, but it does not give access to the Aldi car park, and is currently roped off to prevent use.”

Writing to the Welwyn Hatfied Times, Kaye Hurry said: “It’s an accident waiting to happen.

“No pedestrian paths to get in from the main road, only car access.”

Another shopper, Mr Edwards, said he was “appalled” by the lack of pedestrian access.

He wrote: “People with pushchairs and wheelchairs were having to walk up the road access alongside the cars.

“A car beeped at a lady with a pushchair but she had no other way or accessing the store.

“I saw several people stumble over the gardens of the Bakehouse and over the wooden fences in order to get to the store.”

As part of the planning application, Aldi’s design and access statement notes: “The proposed development links in with the existing pedestrian routes surrounding the site, with a new pedestrian route being provided, from the south of the site, straight towards the entrance of the store, from Bridge Road East.”

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