Plans to turn the former Rickmansworth Police Station into a budget supermarket have been recommended for refusal.

The application by Lidl, which is due to be discussed by the district council’s planning committee at Three Rivers House tonight (Thursday), has received more than 100 objections, while two people have written to the council were in favour.

An online petition against the application has also garnered more than 400 signatures, with its rival petition gaining 171 names in support of the plans.

In reports submitted to the council ahead of today’s meeting, planning officials explained their opposition was because the site, in Rectory Road, is identified as being an area allocated for housing.

It is estimated that around 20 homes could be built on the site, which would "contribute to meeting the much needed housing in Rickmansworth and the district as a whole."

Watford Observer:

Digital image of what the store would look like.

Officers explained: "The application site makes an important contribution towards the council being able to meet identified development needs for housing in the district and in Rickmansworth."

Officers added: "The proposal would also result in harm to the provision of much needed new housing in a sustainable location close to the Town Centre and other facilities such as play and open space which would contribute to the amenity of future residential occupiers of the site."

The application site shares an access road with Rickmansworth Fire and Ambulance Station and concerns were raised over the "conflict between shoppers and emergency vehicles".

Some of the objections raised from the public consultation included the "adverse impact" the development could have on existing shops, the "detrimental impact on the character of Rickmansworth", the impact on neighbours and the problems that may be caused with traffic and transport.

Proposals are that the store would be open from 8am to 10pm on Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 5pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

While concerns were raised last year over the visual impact of the store, which was originally designed to be built in Lidl’s trademark grey exterior, revised plans mean the store would be finished in red brickwork.