A 24,500 sq ft Lidl opens its doors at new urban village Linmere, next to Houghton Regis this week – the latest facility to open on the site whose focus is on providing easy access to open green space for all its residents.

The store, sitting on 2.11 acres, opens on Thursday November 4, and adjoins Linmere’s community hub, The Farmstead, which will be home to a hall for village activities, a café with in-store bakery, dog groomer, bike shop and adventure playground.

The Linmere store is keen to become part of the wider community and will take part in some of the planned ‘market stall’ activities to which the Farmstead will play host once it opens in the spring.

It will provide around 40 jobs for local people, as well as an opportunity for village and nearby residents to combine a shopping trip with leisure activities at the Farmstead. These will include enjoying meals created from locally grown and sourced ingredients at the café, taking part in health-focused, cultural and social activites at the village hall and enabling youngsters to enjoy letting off steam in the play area.

The new store is Lidl’s third major investment in the area. The retailer is also building a one million sq ft regional distribution centre on 58 acres, the largest in the UK, due for completion in 2023, which will create 1,000 new jobs. 

And it recently received planning permission for another store in neighbouring Houghton Regis.

Linmere development director Nigel Reid said: “Lidl will be an important asset for the whole community. Lidl supermarkets have become hugely popular in Great Britain in recent years, and the store will be an essential part of the wider amenities available to residents. We’re sure our new Linmere residents will love shopping here.”

Lidl GB’s regional head of property, Jason Buckley, added: “We’ve seen incredible demand for Lidl stores across the country and look forward to offering our quality products and incredible value to shoppers in and around the Linmere area. We are firmly committed to helping boost the local economy by creating new jobs.”

Cycle paths and cycle-friendly roads will crisscross Linmere and link in with the national cycle network. Walking routes will connect it with surrounding countryside and villages and the site will offer a combination of parkland, wildlife corridors, allotments, sports pitches and play areas.

A third of the overall 650-acre site will not be developed and will be managed in a way which allows natural habitats to thrive. No resident will be more than five minutes stroll away from open green space.

The first Linmere residents moved into their new homes in the summer.

In total around 5,150 homes will be built over the next 15 years by the Linmere consortium which comprises master planners Lands Improvement, Aviva Investors, and the Diocese of St Albans.

Linmere will see the creation of two brand new state of the art primary schools and an extension to Houghton Regis’ existing Thornhill Primary school. A ten-form secondary school will open in September 2022.