A new Lidl store has been praised as a “huge vote of confidence in Stockton town centre” as it opens its doors at the southern end of the high street.
The new supermarket, located between Bridge Street, Tower Street and Stockton riverside will open to customers on Thursday 18 February.
The demolishing of existing buildings to make way for the popular retail brand was part of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s ongoing commitment to protect Stockton’s sustainable retail offering and reshape the Borough’s six town centres to ensure they are fit for the future.
The new supermarket forms part of the company’s ongoing expansion and regeneration plans across Great Britain and has created up to 40 new jobs for the local community. The store has a 1,381m² sales area and features facilities including an in-store bakery, longer-style tills, customer toilet, baby changing and ample parking for both cars and bicycles.
The Council has worked together with Lidl on this development as part of its ambitious plans to invest in all of its town centres. Last week, new visuals showing the transformed Stockton Waterfront site with direct access from the High Street to the river was unveiled, with the development forming an important part of these plans.
The contemporary building provides another option for a fresh retail experience in Stockton town centre through an accessible supermarket.
The new store will help drive footfall to the southern end of Stockton town centre and will also help benefit the existing businesses nearby, as well as being in close proximity to the new proposed Campus buildings that will include the new Council facilities.
This is the fourth Lidl store to open in Stockton-on-Tees, including locations in the Pavilion Shopping Centre in Thornaby, Yarm Road in Stockton, and on Blakeston Lane in Norton. There are plans to launch a further store in Ingleby Barwick.
The opening also fulfils the commitment from Lidl to return to Stockton town centre, after the closure of its Wellington Square store.
In 2019, proposals were approved by the Council to demolish the existing buildings at the south end of Stockton High Street to make way for the new supermarket.
Lidl previously noted that a big draw for them was the regeneration of the town centre, making it an attractive location to open a new store.
Councillor Nigel Cooke, Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration, said: “We are delighted to see Lidl opening in Stockton in a location that is a prime regeneration site for the town.
“We all know that town centres and the retail sector as a whole are changing, but this change is being accelerated now more than ever thanks to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
“Lidl’s commitment to returning to Stockton town centre due to its bold regeneration scheme shows that it still remains important for a successful, vibrant town centre to have a healthy retail offering and that we are right to safeguard sustainable retail in our plans.
"What’s telling is that Lidl’s interest in coming back to Stockton town centre has never waned.
"It’s a huge vote of confidence, not just in the town centre itself, but in all that we’re doing and trying to achieve in the future.”
The new store will also be involved in a number of community initiatives through Lidl’s Feed it Back scheme, providing surplus food and customer donations to a number of local charities.
David Murphy, Lidl GB’s Regional Head of Property, said: “We would like to thank all those who have played a part in bringing this new Lidl store to Stockton.
“It is great that we have been able to work with the council to create more jobs and investment opportunities for the area, and we are incredibly proud to serve the local community at this time.”
As per Government guidance, there will be a range of social distancing measures in place across the store to help maintain a safe environment for colleagues and customers.
Other measures that continue to be in place include dedicated cleaning stations at entrances, hand sanitiser, disinfectant spray and wipes for customers to use on their trolleys and baskets, protective screens at checkouts, as well as visors and face coverings are available for colleagues to wear.
Customers are also encouraged to pay by contactless payment where possible.