LIDL has hit back at Asda after it heavily criticised plans to demolish Hereford's Three Counties Hotel to make way for a new shop.

Budget supermarket Lidl has asked Herefordshire Council if it can bulldoze the Three Counties Hotel in Belmont and replace it with a new shop, as well as get outline planning permission for a drive-thru coffee shop.

If plans are given the go-ahead by the council, the hotel would be demolished and replaced with a Lidl, with a right-turn lane added to Belmont Road to deal with around 2,500 two-way car trips every day. Foot and cycle paths would also be widenened.


But Asda, which has a big supermarket further down Belmont Road near Greyfriars Bridge, hit out at Lidl's plans.

Jigsaw Planning's director Katherine Sneeden, acting on behalf of Asda, said the hotel should not be demolished as it's currently a trading business.

She said it was clear from the hotel's website that it offers facilities for use by the local community through the bar and restaurant as well as hosting weddings and conferences.

This, she said, was against planning policy if the hotel was closed to make way for Lidl.


She also said that Lidl relies heavily in the application that it is a "deep discounter", but she argued this was no longer the case.

In a third reason for Asda's objection, she said loss of trees was also unacceptable.

But now, Lidl has hit back, saying it didn't agree that it had "overstated" the difference between the budget chain and Asda.

Consultants CarneySweeney said the Competition Commission, Inspectors and Secretary of State have expressly recognised that limited assortment discounters, such as Lidl, offer particular benefits of quality and value.


"Lidl sells a limited number of product lines (around 2,000) compared to over 30,000 at large mainstream stores," it said.

"This limited product range does distinguish Lidl from other retailers including main grocers (Asda, Morrison’s, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose), freezer centres (Iceland) and multiple and independent convenience stores."

It added that it does recognise that the greatest impact of the proposed development will fall upon Tesco, Abotsmead Road and Asda, Belmont Road.

There has been fierce resistance to the plans from locals, with dozens of objections citing reasons from traffic woes on the major road to the fact Hereford doesn't need another supermarket, with Tesco and Asda already nearby.

Herefordshire Council's planning department is yet to make a decision on the plans, but consultation is now closed.