DEMOLITION work has finally begun on the site of the new St Annes Aldi store.
It will be built at the derelict former St Annes Conservative Club, on the corner site of Clifton Drive North and the adjoining St Anthony’s House, the former Job Centre on St George‘s Road.
The German retailer says its plans to launch the store in 2013.
The firm had come under pressure to get the site, which had become an eyesore, tidied up - especially with the Open golf tournament looming. And there had been fears Aldi would pull out altogether.
Aldi originally submitted plans for a four-storey building comprising the new store, a new Conservative Club, 34 apartments and a basement car park in 2008 at the prime location.
But when the recession hit, the retailer could not find a development partner.
Aldi found a partner and is now moving on with a new scheme after getting the go ahead from Fylde Council.
An Aldi spokesperson said: “Aldi is committed to the site in St Annes and aims to open the store in 2013. Plans are in place to begin work at the site immediately and, as soon as Fylde Borough Council issues a planning decision notice, demolition can commence.”
John Moxham, chairman of St Annes Chamber of Trade, said: “I do know it has been discussed at Fylde Borough Council about keeping disruption to a minimum.
“The fencing around the club car park, that’s already got some impressions upon and we are hoping to extend that with a view to keeping it relatively fresh.
“At the end of the day it has got to come down, the building next door is bigger and there’s all the mess when you dig underground, but they are trying to minimise disruption.”
“I know Fylde Borough Council and Lancashire County Council have expressed concerns about access onto St George’s Road and Clifton Drive North.”
He added: “It’s so good it’s actually started. We’re so pleased, it’s been a long drawn out process but we empathise with Aldi because the financial circumstances changed. It’s been a long time - but it’s going to be worthwhile.”
A Fylde Council spokesman said; “It’s not a listed building - they can just demolish it. All they have to do is preserve its architectural record.”