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New Aldi shop plans will “undermine only safe cycle route” in city and leave cyclists “filled with horror” – but supermarket chain says proposals “will promote cycling”

Plans for the site, which will house drive-through food outlets as well as Aldi, involve replacing a protected cycleway with a slip road, reducing space for cyclists to a shared footway

Plans to build a new Aldi supermarket in Sheffield, which involve ripping up hundreds of metres of one of the city’s few fully protected cycle lanes to make way for a slip road, reducing the infrastructure to a shared footway, have been branded “regressive” by local cyclists, who say the proposals fill them “with horror” and leave them worried for their safety.

However, Aldi has responded to these concerns by claiming that the new site will “promote cycling” and “foster a vibrant and bike-friendly area”.

According to the proposals, submitted by Aldi, a new supermarket along with three drive-through food outlets, a shop, an electric vehicle charging hub, and hundreds of car parking spaces will be built on a currently empty plot of land on the corner of Penistone Road North and Herries Road, near Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium.

> Aldi apologises after bike racks blocked with compost left customer asking "why do you hate cyclists so much?"

Since the plans were first unveiled earlier this year, local cyclists have voiced their objections to the scheme’s impact on Sheffield’s cycling infrastructure.

The application, submitted by Aldi, features proposals to remove a large section of the Penistone Road cycleway, described by the Cycle Sheffield group as “one of the most well used radial cycle routes” connecting the north-west of the city with the centre, and “one of the very few cycle routes in Sheffield on a major arterial road which is separated from motor traffic”.

However, if the Aldi supermarket is to be built, the cycleway – part of the National Cycle Network and earmarked as a “top priority” for upgrading by the council – will be replaced by a slip road for motorists to access the site, reducing space for cyclists to a narrow shared path with pedestrians.

Meanwhile, Cycle Sheffield has also criticised the failure to include an upgraded crossing for pedestrians and cyclists, a condition for previous applications to develop the site, and the loss of priority for people walking or cycling at the site’s entrances.

Aldi plans, Penistone Road North, Sheffield 2

“There have been numerous applications for this site over the years, but this one is by far the most regressive in terms of its impact on walking and cycling,” Cycle Sheffield’s Dexter Johnstone told Now Then earlier this year.

“The Penistone Road cyclepath, whilst in need of serious upgrading, is one of the most well-used radial cycle routes into and out of north-west Sheffield: 114,302 cycle trips were made along it in 2022.

“It is absolutely vital that the council does not allow the developer to undermine one of the few real cycle routes we have in Sheffield, but instead applies and enforces conditions to the development which means that cycling and walking provision is significantly improved, enabling more people to travel actively in our city.”

This week, the Sheffield Star reported on one of the many objections raised against the proposals, from a local cyclist who described the under-threat Penistone Road cycle path as the “only safe route to cycle into Sheffield city centre from where I live”.

“It is the only point of my journey where I’m not tense and anxious, and can actually start to enjoy a little of the ride,” the cyclist said.

“I worry that should this be removed, I will be at risk on my whole ride, and the thought of dicing with the traffic on the A61 fills me with horror. My children worry for my safety – and I have on many days wondered if ‘this ride’ will be the one that takes my life.

“I persist because I know that if we don’t show that people are using cycles in our city then there won’t be any investment, and no cycle lanes for children in the future.”

Penistone Road North, Sheffield (Cycle Sheffield)

However, in response to the plethora of objections to their plans and what Cycle Sheffield described as a “significant degrading” of the city’s cycling infrastructure, Aldi says the proposals will feature dedicated bike lanes and crossing facilities throughout the site, as well as direct access points for cyclists to the shop’s entrance.

“We recognise that our site is located on the popular Penistone Road cycle route and are keen to clarify that our plans include investment and enhancements that will promote cycling in the local area, “Mark Stringer, Aldi’s real estate director said in a statement.

“We want to ensure the local community is aware of the investment we’re making into the cycle route and to foster a vibrant and bike-friendly area that aligns with modern lifestyles and environmental sustainability goals.”

> “It’s going to cause unspeakable damage”: Cycling campaign slams Aldi and council for putting cyclists and pedestrians in danger and “only thinking about drivers”

The debate in Sheffield isn’t the first time in recent years that Aldi has come under fire for appearing to hinder active travel.

Last June we reported that the Norwich Cycling Campaign argued that a new Aldi supermarket in the city would “cause unspeakable damage” due to its lack of cycling and walking infrastructure, with cyclists hoping to access the shop forced to dismount and cross a 1.5-metre-wide bridge over a busy road.

“The whole thing is really dangerous. There’s a school and a college nearby, this area is supposed to be a safe route for children and teenagers. But the council didn’t do any investigations, no public consultations,” the campaign’s Derek Williams told road.cc, before claiming that Aldi was intent on “avoiding its obligation” to build a planned crossing.

 “What’s happened recently, is that Aldi have decided they don’t want to go about this process. They are fighting it as hard as they can, they are doing everything they can to pull out of paying for it,” he said.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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14 comments

Avatar
NPlus1Bikelights | 3 days ago
0 likes

Aldi always meet their planning permission declared walking/ cycling obligat...oh.

https://road.cc/content/news/norwich-cycling-campaign-slams-aldi-and-cou...

2023: “trying to avoid their obligation”

2024: Still waiting for this promised crossing.

 

Did you know Aldi is an anagram of Liar.

Avatar
i-am-furious | 3 days ago
1 like

Drivers complain about a war on motorists then crap like this gets waved through planning

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HLaB | 3 days ago
0 likes

Please say that has not been approved.  Even if somehow the whole sustainable travel/ environment thing wasn't an issue (which it is), two vehicle accesses isn't needed and opening up a new road connection beteween the A61 (Penistone Rd) and A6102 (Herries Rd) is a terrible idea

Avatar
Aluminium can | 3 days ago
1 like

Similar thing happened near where I live in Oz. When one Government department is building for cycling another (or maybe the same) department is digging it all up two weeks later.

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MikrG | 4 days ago
0 likes

Some Highways Authorities insist on over engineered designs, and that might have happened here. They should be following Local Transport Note 1/20.

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andystow | 4 days ago
1 like

Why does the shopping centre even need two entrances? There appears to be one planned for Herries Rd / A6102, it would only be 0.4 miles / 0.6 km to drive around to the other entrance. There could be a cyclist / pedestrian entrance where the PenisTone rode entrance is proposed, for convenient access from the houses across the road.

Avatar
Rendel Harris | 4 days ago
6 likes

"We need more space for brumbrums so we are removing the pavement, pedestrians will have to walk alongside motor traffic on this stretch without any separation" - would that be okay? Then this is not okay.

On a sidenote, I'm very disappointed that nobody has made any Penistone Road jokes, have you all grown up overnight or something?

Avatar
Aluminium can replied to Rendel Harris | 3 days ago
1 like

I don't know any jokes about stones.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Aluminium can | 3 days ago
2 likes

Aluminium can wrote:

I don't know any jokes about stones.

If Medusa turned people into cheese rather than stone, would she be a gorgonzola?

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Rendel Harris | 3 days ago
1 like

Rendel Harris wrote:

"We need more space for brumbrums so we are removing the pavement, pedestrians will have to walk alongside motor traffic on this stretch without any separation" - would that be okay? Then this is not okay.

On a sidenote, I'm very disappointed that nobody has made any Penistone Road jokes, have you all grown up overnight or something?

Avatar
eburtthebike | 5 days ago
10 likes

Even when you manage to get a decent protected cycle route, the developers think nothing of removing it for their profit.

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chrisonabike replied to eburtthebike | 5 days ago
3 likes

To be fair my council (at least) also seems happy to let these get nibbled away - or at least spend time sitting under road signage, supplies for maintenance works, builders' vans...  Turns out "our streets are too narrow" isn't only used to excuse lack of action because of "historic constraints" (always dating from after the latest road layout went in) - it even has a prophetic side!

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pockstone | 5 days ago
10 likes

Aldi and Costa(I think?)have form on this one. Something very similar was done to a stretch of the Canal Rd./Stanley Rd. cycle path in Bradford. I see they don't put the give way markings in the middle of the car lanes which are sacrosanct....but let's make all the cyclists give way (or get off and push as the illustration suggests).

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NPlus1Bikelights replied to pockstone | 3 days ago
0 likes

Also in Norwich - promised a pedestrian crossing and trying to avoid it. They should be banned from building new stores until they meet existing obligations. https://road.cc/content/news/norwich-cycling-campaign-slams-aldi-and-cou...

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