A TOWN’S store wars saga took another turn when German discount supermarket rivals Aldi and Lidl clashed at a heated planning meeting.

Forest planners rejected Aldi’s four-year bid for an out-of-town store off Coleford’s Tufthorn Avenue after Lidl said it would abandon its scheme to open a town centre store if the former got the go ahead.

The Forest Council has previously approved the Aldi plan, only for a High Court judge to overturn the ruling after the Co-op claimed it had been passed without carrying out a full impact survey on town centre trade.

But Lidl’s pledge to open a store at Lord’s Hill, where planning permission has already been granted for a now-shelved Tesco outlet, saw the resubmitted Aldi bid for a 1,804 sq m store with 121 parking spaces fail to gain council backing this time, prompting one woman to shout “disgusting” from the public gallery.

Shoppers who back the Aldi plan claim the town is dying and needs the store so families can afford to feed their children.

A senior Aldi executive attended last week’s packed planning committee meeting, but Lidl spokesman Ian O’Gorman described as “scaremongering” claims that its own plan to open in the town centre was a ploy to sink its rival’s bid, which would be shelved once the other scheme was rejected.

He said they were committed to opening at Pyart Court in Coleford, despite Aldi claims that the site was simply not big enough to host a major store.

“Lidl’s commitment to Lord’s Hill is now a public document and we will be submitting a full application for Lord’s Hill within months,” he said.

The committee heard there was only room in the town for one new supermarket in the fight for a share of its potential £16m a year grocery market.

Mr O’Gorman said: “You want a food retailer there. I stand here as a food retailer confirming to you that we will develop the Lords Hill site.”