In the full Town Council meeting of 28 June, Cllr and twice former Mayor Mervyn Hall asked newly elected Wiltshire Councillor Caroline Thomas about rumours that were spreading across the Town regarding the possible sale to Aldi by Wiltshire Council of the Salt Depot on the Business Park as a site for a new supermarket.
He asked Cllr Thomas if she was aware of this and if not could she make further enquiries.
Marlborough has been identified in reports from Aldi as being one of several towns in Wiltshire where they are looking to open a new store.
Already across the UK they have about nine hundred stores. Not on quite the same size scales as the large Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrison or Asda stores but each site being approximately 1.5 acres so as to accommodate a 20,000 square foot store unit with car park spaces adjacent. Not dissimilar in size to that of the Marlborough Tesco store, also on the Business Park.
Traditionally they (Aldi) have concentrated on freehold town centre locations, or edge-of-centre sites that are deemed suitable for development. In that respect the Salt Depot and Business Park area would be ideal.
However, the Salt Depot site itself would appear to be too small given those criteria, unless the adjacent Household Recycling Centre were included as well, which would probably be deemed an unpalatable move even for Wiltshire Council.
There aren’t many sites in or around the town that would confirm to the space required. There has been plenty of rumour and speculation about the siting of such a new Aldi store. Nothing would appear to be available in the centre of the town – unless a car park were to be turned over to a supermarket – which would be counter-productive in the extreme.
Where else? Speculation – probably mischievous – has ranged from The Common – instead of the proposed third training pitch(!) to the significant stretch of open green space between Barton Park and College Fields, which residents attempted (unsuccessfully) a few years back (in 2017/18) to get registered as a Village Green.
Neither would be likely as both have attracted significant comment and discussion even keeping them ‘green’ and undeveloped. But, who knows? Many thought the same about Rabley Wood View which was sold off by (and with approval from and to the benefit of) Wiltshire Council.
So far, no further response from Wiltshire Council regarding the Salt Depot. A question regarding the future of this facility (and Aldi?) will be asked at the next meeting of the Full Town Council on Monday next week – 06 September.