ALDI is threatening to look elsewhere if its plans to open a branch in a Hampshire town are rejected for a second time.

In a statement the German discount chain said it intended to build new stores across the UK and would be “focusing its efforts on sites that are deliverable”.

It follows comments said to have been made by Aldi representative Dan Templeton at an online meeting of New Milton Town Council’s planning committee.

Mr Templeton is reported to have warned that Aldi could decide to consider another town if its latest application was refused.

The company wants to build a 1,862-square-metre store that would create at least 30 jobs.

Aldi has submitted a revised scheme for an out-of-town site at Caird Avenue, New Milton, after its previous proposal was rejected by New Forest District Council (NFDC) by just one vote.

Councillors claimed the store should be built in the town centre - but Aldi says the Station Road site identified by the authority is not suitable.

Speakers at the recent town council meeting included Alan Watson, chairman of New Milton Residents’ Association.

He said a straw poll of members found that 65% of the 468 respondents supported Aldi’s latest proposal, with 29% against.

Town councillors agreed to tell NFDC that the new plan is acceptable, subject to conditions.

The authority has so far received more than 40 letters from people supporting the revised scheme, which is due to be decided by December 21.

One of the objectors is Damon Holmes, of Brecon Close, New Milton.

His letter to NFDC says the proposed new store could create extra traffic problems in an area that has already seen a “considerable number” of accidents involving cyclists.

It adds: “The cycleways identified in the transport plan are little more than narrow footpaths and very difficult if not impossible to cycle along.

“Visually the appearance of the building is unappealing, with grim looking grey cladding dominating a shed that could be in any town.”

Mr Holmes also cites the apparent absence of proposals to tackle air pollution caused by additional vehicles visiting the area.

Aldi is planning a massive expansion programme across the country.

In a statement it said: “Aldi is pledging to invest £1.3bn in the UK over the next two years, with plans to operate 1,200 stores by 2025.

“These plans are expected to create a further 4,000 new jobs in 2020, adding to the 3,000 permanent roles already created in 2020.

“Aldi is actively seeking potential sites for this expansion and will be focussing its efforts on sites that are deliverable.”