Construction work to begin on £3.3m Aldi store after licencing concerns

Construction begins after alcohol licence approved by council.

Construction work to begin on anticipated £3.3m Aldi store in Macduff LDRS

Construction work will finally get underway on the long-awaited £3.3m Aldi supermarket in Macduff as its alcohol licence has been approved.

While planning permission for the store was rubber stamped for the second time in November, there was one final hurdle for bosses.

The budget retailer had applied to Aberdeenshire Council for a provisional licence asking to allocate 40.2sqm of its shop floor to alcoholic beverages.

But, the local authority’s licensing rules state that any premises selling booze should not exceed 34.3sqm.

The application went before the Aberdeenshire Licensing Board earlier today to allow members to discuss the additional space.

Solicitor Caroline Loudon pleaded with the board to approve the licence to allow work to begin on the much-needed supermarket.

She said: “Aldi would like to open the store by Christmas of this year and there is a real time pressure to achieve that.

“We can’t start on site without planning and licensing being in place.

“I can’t afford to have a refusal today and seek an appeal as it just delays matters further.”

She argued that alcohol is “fundamental” to the supermarket’s offering and allows the retail units to be “commercially viable”.

The solicitor added: “Customers will go elsewhere if they can’t complete a full basket shop within a store and that may or may not include alcohol so it is important.”

But there was also some concern that the additional alcohol space could negatively impact the town.

Board members were told that Macduff shows evidence of a higher-than-average level of alcohol-related harm.

However, Ms Loudon stated that the Aldi store and its staff would be able to combat any risks.

She explained that the tills would have prompts when processing alcohol products and CCTV will be in operation.

Meanwhile, Aldi’s alcohol pricing will be “responsible” and staff will be trained not to sell booze to anyone who may be intoxicated or underage.

Councillor Richard Menard pushed for the licence to be approved as he believed the supermarket would benefit customers outwith the town too.

He stated: “The applicant has shown that they are a responsible business.

“Not only are they supplying Macduff, they will be supplying the greater area including Banff, King Edward and even as far down as Turriff.”

However, councillor Iain Taylor believed the national retailer needed to stick to council policy, saying “The level of alcohol harm takes the upper hand”.

He suggested Aldi apply for seasonal licences if it needed extra alcohol display space over Christmas, New Year and Easter.

But following a vote, the budget retailer’s proposal was granted by seven to two.

Plans for the new Aldi store on Duff Street were initially approved back in 2022.

However bosses were forced to scrap them after rivals Tesco launched legal action in a bid to stop the development.

The plans were later withdrawn but resubmitted months later as part of a larger masterplan for the area.

Aldi’s new shop will bring 35 full and part-time jobs to Macduff.

The new Aberdeenshire location will be Aldi’s 107th store in Scotland.

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