READING recent Wakefield Express articles in respect of the Tesco plans for a giant new store at Ings Road there seem to be more questions than answers regarding these proposals.
I think Wakefield Council was absolutely right to commission a study report to investigate the questionable and misleading information provided by Tesco in respect of predicted job creation resulting from this proposed development.
Based on the information and evidence currently available I would support a decision for refusing this application for the following reasons:
1. The supermarket predictions of jobs created are misleading in terms of full time employment jobs. There needs to be clearer information regarding full time, part time and limited hours jobs created. They appear to make no reference to jobs displaced from the site or other jobs likely to be displaced elsewhere in the town centre and wider catchment area. Other supermarket studies have shown that jobs overall can be reduced not increased as a result of new supermarkets.
2. The site is outside the main town centre and the proposed superstore appears to conflict with the council’s approved town centre development plan for the area.
3. The proposed superstore will have a harmful impact on existing and future investment in the central shopping area.
4. It will cause increased traffic congestion and pollution on one of the busiest sections of road in Wakefield. Highways officers have indicated that the traffic impact assessment provided by Tesco is flawed and recommend the scheme should be refused on highways grounds.
5. The proposals conflict with policy recommendations set out in the National Planning policy Framework for ensuring vitality in town centres.
6. Wakefield is already well served by supermarkets and there is a very large number of unoccupied shops and business premises within the town centre. This proposal will prejudice the re-occupation of the many vacant shop units in key parts of the town centre such as the Ridings Centre etc.
I hope councillors on the planning committee consider all the key facts before making a decision on this development proposal.