TWO supermarkets are looking to cement their presence in a town – as one hopes to extend and its next door neighbour looks for a new site.

The German discount supermarket Aldi wants to extend its store at Bishop Auckland by moving into the adjoining premises currently occupied by Iceland.

Aldi, which owns the entire building, off Watling Road, has asked Iceland to move out and applied to Durham County Council for planning permission to make alterations to turn it into one larger store.

In an application to the council, the company says it is regularly reviews its portfolio of stores and looks to update those that have been open a number of years.

It says the redeveloped building would make use of better technology, energy efficiency and improve the customer experience and shopping environment.

Aldi says the refitted store would improve product displays for customers, add extra fridges to increase the chilled range, add an extra aisle and increase aisle-width and improve the flow of the shop and reduce customers’ waiting time at the tills.

The plan includes changes to the car parking and landscaped area outside, with the removal of some shrubs and three trees, which will create an extra 118 parking spaces, six electric vehicle bays and charging points and motorbike spaces.

Proposed external alterations and extensions include removal of the external lobby and entrance canopy; installation of new glazed shop front, external lobby and canopy; installation of high-level windows and recladding.

It also wants an infill extension to the loading bay, to replace plant equipment on the site and to remove a gas kiosk from the car park.

Iceland has said it is now actively looking for new premises as it wants to stay in the area.

An Iceland spokesperson said: “Aldi is our landlord in Bishop Auckland and they have advised us that they intend to terminate our lease so that they can extend their store into our premises.

“We are actively looking for a new home in the town at present.”

Consultation on the proposal will run until January 25, with a decision expected to be made by council planning officers under delegated power by February 17.