SUPERMARKET chain Lidl has been given the go-ahead to open a store less than 200m away from Asda in Bournemouth.

BCP Council has given the German firm permission to remove a condition on the former Office Outlet premises in Holdenhurst Road which banned the sale of food.

The move paves the way for it to convert the unit into a supermarket which the firm said it hoped to do at the “earliest opportunity”.

Submitted in January, the application sought to overturn one of the 16 conditions attached to the building relating to a 1995 planning application, forbidding the sale or storage of food at the site.

Lidl said the new store would serve the growing number of students living nearby and also create 40 jobs – five full-time and 35 part-time.

“The proposed store will be well placed to serve the substantial residential areas to the north and east as well as the significant numbers of new, purpose-built student accommodation that has been, and is being, developed close by,” a statement by consultancy RPS Group on its behalf said.

It said that within a five-minute walk of the building were six sites which had been given planning permission for a total of almost 3,000 beds.

Six people wrote in opposition to the scheme, raising concerns about the amount of traffic the supermarket would create and the number of similar shops operating nearby.

But architect One Design said the shop would be a boost to retail in the town.

“This current proposal to invest in Bournemouth and provide a new discount store should be welcomed as representing a further improvement in the town’s retail offer,” it said.

And, in a report published earlier this month, council planning officer agreed to allow the condition to be removed, despite saying a supermarket would increase the amount of traffic in the area.

Council planning officer Katie Wood said the change of use of the building would increase the amount of traffic in the area but said a £40,000 contribution offered as part of the application could mitigate the rise.

“Although there are other food retailers within the vicinity, there are not so many that this would be considered to cause an undue impact on the viability of the area,” her report said.

“It is considered that the proposed store will increase footfall to Parkway Retail Park and surrounding businesses, this will benefit the immediate vicinity more than a vacant retail unit.”

Lidl had said that should its application be approved it would begin work on creating the store at the “earliest opportunity”.