Shops fear ‘ghost town’ future in Tesco battle

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TOURISTS who flock to a Yorkshire Pennine town could desert it as it becomes a “ghost town”, according to traders fighting plans for a Tesco supermarket.

Independent traders in Holmfirth fear that a proposed out-of-town store could lead to deserted streets and boarded-up shops.

Yesterday they boarded up their own shop windows in protest at what they claimed was a taste of things to come.

Tesco’s plans for a store have led to increasingly bitter words between those for and against.

Yesterday one supporter of the Tesco plan slammed the traders’ protest as “pathetic”.

Traders have already fought off Tesco once. In 2009 the company withdrew its plans for the same Holmfirth site after residents argued that the town’s unique character would be undermined.

But Tesco claimed that its plans had widespread support in the town.

A Kirklees Council spokesman said that so far there had been just short of 100 comments on the plans, with the majority of them in favour.

Residents said the town lacked choice when it came to food shopping as the only place to go was a Co-op store.

Many residents drive to nearby Meltham or Huddersfield to do their weekly shop.

One resident, Lindsay Foster, said: “The poor people of Holmfirth have to drive four miles (to Meltham). Holmfirth has to change. Takeaways and charity shops are not going to keep people coming to Holmfirth.”

Full story: Page 7.

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