A struggling shopping area beset by crime has been boosted by news a budget supermarket has decided to push ahead with opening a new store after all.
There had been concerns that Aldi was going to axe its plans to open in London Road, Brighton, after the German firm announced a review of the scheme in May.
Pulling out would have dealt another blow to traders in the once thriving street who this month pleaded with Brighton and Hove City Council and Sussex Police to do something to help the beleaguered area.
They said crime and drug abuse had become major issues and several shops, including the “anchor” Co-op department store, had closed due to poor business.
Aldi yesterday confirmed it would be pushing ahead with plans to open a shop at the old Sainsbury’s site at the corner of Cheapside.
Traders welcomed the announcement.
Florist May Cragg, who runs Patricia’s in London Road, said: “At last we can have some good news. We’ve got people coming in rather than going out. We’ll have a shop there rather than an empty building.”
Aldi said it would spend the next few months transforming the building ready to open in early 2009. Before the review it had been due to start trading early this year. The firm runs around 5,000 stores worldwide and operates with a low-cost philosophy. Goods are stacked on pallets on the floor and few shop staff are employed.
Aldi property director Mark Taylor said: "We are investing several million pounds into our new Brighton store in order to deliver a unique and exciting shopping experience.
"I look forward to welcoming the whole community when we open.”
He said Aldi’s low prices could save shoppers significant amounts on their bills.
The council spokesman said it had worked with the firm to get to the point where the store could open.
He said: “We’re delighted at this commitment by such a big firm to the area. Despite ongoing problems, we have high hopes that London Road can improve both in terms of its environment and its economic success. We are now working closely with traders to develop a plan to improve the area and we will continue to tell the public about developments as they happen.”