Decisions due on city site store projects by supermarket giants

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DECISIONs are due today on plans submitted by two supermarket giants, one to remodel its current site and car park and another for a huge new development on a greenfield site on the outskirts of Sheffield.

Planners are likely to turn down an application by Tesco for a hypermarket in Halfway, on Sheffield’s border with Derbyshire, but are set approve Asda’s redesign for its store in Handsworth, Sheffield.

The blueprints for the Tesco store show a new store with a floor space of 90,000 sq ft on a greenfield site off Oxclose Park Road, close to an existing Morrison’s store and a large development of new housing.

Architects for the firm state that the proposed supermarket, if approved, would be built according to Tesco’s “environmental format” with timber frame construction, timber cladding and glazing.

Drawings show a car park for 503 vehicles, provision for 72 cycles and a petrol filling station, and also show a detailed landscaping scheme to the boundaries of the site closest to existing homes.

But a public consultation exercise carried out by planners resulted in 182 representations being received with 157 objections, 17 letters of support and eight letters of comment on the scheme.

A petition containing 785 signatures has also been submitted by a local pressure group calling itself Action in Mosborough Stop Tesco Group which objects to the plan on a number of grounds.

According to a report to be examined by planners today, the main objections surround traffic, impact on smaller shops in the local community, the appearance of the building and noise, light and air pollution.

Those who have written in support of the plan say the development will give shoppers more choice, would increase employment opportunities and would be preferable to more new houses in the area.

Both Morrisons and Sainsbury, which has a store at the nearby Crystal Peaks shopping centre, have also objected to the Tesco plan, claiming the store is not required in the area, which is served by them.

In their report, planners say many of the objections over traffic and pollution hold little weight in the planning process, but will advise rejection of the scheme because the land is required for housing.

The report says: “The application site is required to meet the city’s housing requirement such that its development as a supermarket would represent an inefficient use of land.

“That would undermine the council’s objective of maintaining a five-year supply of deliverable sites and a further supply of development land.”

Objections have also been raised over Asda’s plans to “reconfigure” its store car park at its site in Handsworth, just off the Sheffield Parkway.

Last year the firm withdrew plans for a side extension to the shop, which would have provided additional mezzanine floorspace and alterations to the car park in the face of opposition.

It has now resubmitted plans which aim to provide an extra 86 spaces for cars, but this idea is still unpopular with residents, who have again written to the city council to protest about what they claim will be “increased traffic levels”.

Meanwhile, Asda has submitted a so-called Statement of Community Involvement, which it claims shows that most of its customers would like to see improvements made to the car park.

According to the statement, 87 per cent of respondents thought the car park was unsatisfactory and needed improving.

In their recommendation to councillors, planning officers agree with the supermarket, saying the new car park will help with traffic congestion.

Both applications will be considered by Sheffield Council’s city centre and east planning and highways board at a meeting to be held today at 2pm in Sheffield Town Hall.