08/05/2015 - 13:06

Hilton next for advancing Aldi

08/05/2015 - 13:06

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Supermarket giant Aldi is facing headwinds on its plan to acquire and demolish the Hilton Fresh shopping centre and construct one of its own supermarkets on the site, with local residents and the City of Fremantle raising concerns over the design of the proposal.

Hilton next for advancing Aldi
PROGRESS: Aldi plans to replace the Hilton Fresh shops with a supermarket of its own. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Supermarket giant Aldi is facing headwinds on its plan to acquire and demolish the Hilton Fresh shopping centre and construct one of its own supermarkets on the site, with local residents and the City of Fremantle raising concerns over the design of the proposal.

Aldi has lodged a development application with the City of Fremantle, which will be evaluated by the metropolitan south-west development assessment panel in coming weeks.

However, prior to that assessment, the city has launched a community consultation process to canvass the views of residents and nearby business owners. The proposal advocates demolition of the existing shops and the construction of a 1,020-square metre Aldi supermarket with a 375sqm storage facility on the South Street site.

City of Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said in a blog post earlier this month he had no fundamental issue with Aldi coming to Fremantle or Hilton, but that community concerns with the plan did have some merit.

Residents have claimed in local newspapers that the Aldi proposal would not only have a negative impact on the IGA supermarket across the street, but also the entire suburb.

Mr Pettitt said among the issues was the design of the building, which included a blank wall facing South Street.

“If this side was wrapped with small-scale retail like a hairdresser, post office and shoe repairer, that would be a huge improvement,” he said.

Mr Pettitt said it was the council’s preference to have a mixed-use development of retail and residential constructed on the site.

“A couple of floors of residential above the retail would add to the residential mix in Hilton and give the development a presence a neighbourhood centre deserves,” he said.

However, Aldi’s development application, prepared by Urbis, states that the current South Street facade already lacks architectural detail and has limited openings, while it is also largely obscured by signage and advertisements.

The application says the replacement building would have an improved architectural expression to South Street, despite the claims of it being simply a blank wall.

“A semi-active frontage is created to South Street through glazing graphic and detailed landscaping,” the application said.

An Aldi spokesperson said the company’s policy was to work closely with local planning bodies, other businesses and residents to ensure a new store would have a positive impact on the community.

“The establishment of a new Aldi store in Hilton will help bolster the local retail offering, as our experience on the eastern seaboard has shown that new Aldi stores help to encourage customer growth in retail areas and boost supply opportunities for local manufacturers,” the spokesperson said.

“Independent research has consistently shown that, in areas where an Aldi is present, major supermarket chains reduce their prices.

“In addition, it will provide rewarding career opportunities for local residents, with each Aldi store offering 15 to 20 employment positions.”

Despite the issues, the Aldi Hilton store provides further momentum for the Western Australian rollout by the Germany-based discount supermarket chain.

Aldi already has 370 stores in operation in the eastern states, while it plans to open 70 stores over the next five years in Perth and select regional locations in WA.

Business News reported last month that Aldi had acquired the Captain Stirling Shopping Centre in Nedlands, which it expected to be part of its first 20 WA stores scheduled for opening midway through next year.

Construction of a $51 million distribution centre, by Georgiou, at Jandakot Airport is under way, while plans are also being advanced for Aldi stores at Lakeside Joondalup Shopping City, South Lake, Kwinana, Cannington, Southern River, Halls Head, Rockingham, Australind, Camillo, Midland, Mundaring and Ellenbrook.

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