DISCOUNT supermarket chain Lidl has announced plans that will further its expansion into Barnsley.

Lidl has lodged an application with planners to build a 1,979 square metre store on the former Goldthorpe Primary School site on the junction of High Street and Doncaster Road.

Planning permission for the site - which has been vacant for more than five years since it was cleared of the school buildings - was given to Home Bargains in 2019, but the scheme was later abandoned.

The new Goldthorpe Primary Academy was built in 2016 on land previously cleared of terraced houses further down and on the other side of Doncaster Road.

The German retailer already has three sites in the borough - on Peel Street in the town centre, Mitchells Way in Wombwell and Wakefield Road in Mapplewell - and the latest application joins another which regards a parcel of land in Hoyland Common.

A planning statement noted the presence of the nearby Asda but added ‘the principle of retail development on the site has been clearly established’ and that the new store will be a ‘complementary addition’.

The site is highlighted in Barnsley Council’s local plan, approved in 2019, as part of Goldthorpe’s ‘local centre’.

A planning statement said: “The current proposals will secure the comprehensive redevelopment of the site to provide a discount foodstore occupied by Lidl.

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“The proposals will significantly enhance the retail offer of the district centre, as well as securing additional national multiple retailer representation within Goldthorpe, which will clearly improve the attractiveness of the district centre as a local shopping destination.

“The support for existing businesses through increased footfall may lead them to maintain their presence within Goldthorpe and may also boost investor confidence in the local area and act as a catalyst for further inward investment into the town.

“Moreover, the proposed development will lead to significant improvements to the shopping environment through the redevelopment of this longstanding vacant site with a well-designed retail development, including the provision of a new area of public realm and soft landscaping to the northern edge of the site adjoining Doncaster Road.”

If passed, the plan will see the supermarket, a 121-space car park - with disabled, family and electric vehicle bays - and ‘extensive’ soft landscaping.

It comes alongside the Goldthorpe masterplan and ongoing work in the town after the £23.1m investment from the government’s Towns Fund - which has most notably seen the Horse and Groom pub on Barnsley Road demolished to make way for a town square, and plans to move and reinvigorate the market.

“Most notably, the scheme includes a new area of public realm in line with the aspirations of the Goldthorpe masterplan and a wide landscape buffer to the northern boundary of the site adjoining Doncaster Road and it is clear that the incorporation of these landscape features will enhance the character of the streetscene with resultant benefits in terms of the general vitality and viability of Goldthorpe district centre,” added the statement.

“The application proposals also represent substantial investment in the area and will deliver significant regeneration benefits through the comprehensive redevelopment of this prominent and highly accessible vacant site to provide new foodstore provision to serve the local area.

“The proposals will also generate a large number of job opportunities for local people across a range of full and part-time roles in an area where the unemployment rate is above the national average.”