Decision day looms for new Tesco food store bid

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Controversial plans to build a new Tesco store and redevelop the supermarket’s existing site in a Yorkshire spa town are set to clear the final hurdle.

The supermarket giant wants to renew planning permission, which was granted three years ago on appeal, to build a new food store with car parking on land at Mayfield Road and Railway Road in Ilkley.

Members of Bradford Council’s regulatory and appeals committee will be advised to approve the application when they meet on Thursday.

They will also be recommended to back an outline application to renew permission granted on appeal in 2010 for a mixed use development including business units, office space and a 60-bed residential care home with parking on the site of Tesco’s existing store at Springs Lane.

Coun Anne Hawkesworth, who represents Ilkley and who has campaigned against the development, has written to Philip Clarke, the chief executive of Tesco plc, spelling out why she feels the scheme is neither in the best interests of the town nor the supermarket giant.

Coun Hawkesworth said: “The current site is far better from Tesco’s perspective for trading. They can easily redevelop it.

“The site they want to develop would be far better used for starter homes plus some employment purposes.

“Their current site is a much better trading position.

“The site they are talking about moving to is cheek by jowl with another supermarket.

“My main concerns are the traffic. But my concerns were also they were talking about a huge store.

“We know that big stores drain the life blood out of the town. I stand by the current position being the right place for them and for the town.

“I believe the strength of feeling against it is still there.

“It is not popular; people do not want a huge store in Ilkley.”

Tesco is seeking permission for the new store for a further three-year period.

Ilkey Parish Council has raised issues and Bradford Council has received 150 letters of objection to the new store and three in support.

Critics have flagged up a raft of concerns which include fears about traffic and pedestrian safety, noise and disturbance and the potential impact of the new store on existing local shopkeepers.

Objectors claim the quality of life in the area will be affected and say there is no commercial advantage to the town.

However, a report that is due to be considered by councillors has maintained the new food store “will not have a significant adverse impact on the existing town centre but will secure sustainable economic development for the district.”

Supporters of the scheme have said that Tesco provides employment for people in the town and the surrounding area and that the current site and store is no longer in keeping with the needs of the town.

A spokesman for Tesco said: “We remain committed to building a new, larger store in Ilkley. Our current store is very popular but we would like to offer our customers an even better shopping experience.”

The committee will consider the bid afresh but will need to be mindful of the fact that a Planning Inspector granted consent on appeal for the Tesco development within the last three years.