Aldi plans mean new start for factory

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COUNCILLORS have unanimously backed controversial plans for an engineering works in Sheffield to be knocked down and converted into a new Aldi supermarket.

After securing vital planning permission for the scheme, supermarket bosses said the new store on The Common, Ecclesfield, could be open within 12 to 18 months.

Some 74 per cent of residents who contacted the council opposed the plans, arguing the area already has too many supermarkets - with a Morrisons, a Co-op, a Tesco and two Asdas operating within a few miles.

But councillors on the west and north planning board voted the plans through after hearing the scheme was vital for the future of the Rollem engineering firm, which has been operating on the site since 1942.

Rollem MD Stuart Murphy said: “We are an expanding company and the building is too small for us. We can’t bring international customers of the likes of Xerox to our current buildings because they are too old. They do not portray our business.”

He pledged the company would stay in the Sheffield area once the site was sold to Aldi, because the majority of his workforce is based in High Green and Chapeltown.

Mr Murphy later told The Star he was considering three new sites for the firm - an old warehouse next to Morrisons in Ecclesfield, the Thorncliffe business park at Chapeltown, and a site on the Dearne Valley Parkway.

“This is fantastic news for us,” he added.