FEARS congestion could be made worse on “one of the busiest roads in the county” by a proposed Lidl supermarket. 

Wareham St Martin Parish Council has warned a new Lidl in Sandford “will impact [the village] and the surrounding area for years to come”. 

The German supermarket applied to build a new store on green land off Sandford Road at Sibley Pottery Roundabout in September 2022. 

Hundreds of people in Purbeck have been divided on the proposals. Those against warn it will create more traffic, pollution, noise and would be a loss of green space. 

Bournemouth Echo: Land off Sandford Road where Lidl wants to buildLand off Sandford Road where Lidl wants to build (Image: Daily Echo)

Bournemouth Echo: The road is usually busy throughout the dayThe road is usually busy throughout the day (Image: Daily Echo)

Meanwhile those in favour have said Purbeck could do with a budget supermarket, as the closest one is in Poole

But the parish council has hit out at not just the application, but Dorset Council in the way it has handled the application process so far. 

It said: “The A351 is the main route to Wareham and is one of the busiest in the county, any increase in traffic would impact on the environment, local businesses and residents’ health.

Read more: Lidl say '3,200 people' have written in to support new supermarket

Read more: New Lidl plan will have 'negative impact' on town centre retail

“It is even more surprising that Dorset Council has not carried out an independent analysis of the traffic impact, given that they have a state of art model for strategic analysis.  

“It is completely unacceptable for Dorset Council to base [its] decision on what the applicant has produced given that they have the ideal programme to use and the necessity for an unbiased analysis to be completed.

Bournemouth Echo: CGI of the planCGI of the plan (Image: CGI by One Design Architects)

“Assumptions are not good enough for such an important decision that will impact on Sandford and the surrounding area for years to come.” 

The parish council also said there are a number of “minor shunts” which happen along Sandford Road which go unrecorded, but they cause further congestion as drivers slow down to look at the crash.  

An assessment done by consultancy firm Mayer Brown said that “whilst there is expected to be an increase in queuing/delay as a result of these changes compared to the submitted proposed arrangement, the roundabout is predicted to continue to operate within capacity”. 

Lidl estimates its proposed store would save residents 1.5 million miles per year in fuel costs and more than 400 tonnes of CO2. 

Meanwhile Lidl GB’s head of property James Mitchell said there has been an “incredible amount” of positive feedback from 3,200 people, he claimed. 

Commenting on the application without prejudice to the process, a Dorset Council spokesman said: “The highway capacity modelling in the applicant’s submission complies with industry standards and is therefore considered acceptable, and use of the strategic model in this scenario is therefore unnecessary.

"The strategic model is not an appropriate assessment tool for the small amount of traffic that would be new to the network.

"The majority of trips to the site will be residents who are already travelling further afield to foodstores, who will be able to shop locally, reducing longer journeys.

"In addition, the proposal includes improvements to crossing facilities for people accessing the store by foot, by cycle or by other non-vehicular means.”

Lidl’s proposal for Sandford is expected to go to the planning committee at Dorset Council later this year.