Wakefield Council to fight Tesco superstore plan

Tesco Extra planned at Ings Road Retail Park
Tesco Extra planned at Ings Road Retail Park

Wakefield Council will oppose plans for a new Tesco superstore when a public inquiry is opened by the planning inspectorate.

The council’s planning committee voted to back officers’ recommendations that the 24-hour Tesco Extra planned at Ings Road would damage city centre trade and cause chaos on the road network.

In its application, Tesco pledged nearly £1.2m towards resurfacing surrounding roads and building new junctions, and nearly £500,000 to fund another free city bus.

And it said it would work with Job Centre Plus to make sure 40 per cent of jobs went to the long-term unemployed.

But most of the committee agreed that the 10,000 sq m store would draw shoppers away from an already struggling city centre.

Coun Alan Wassell said the fact Tesco needed to fork out so much for road improvements showed how badly placed the store would be.

And Coun Lawrence Kirkpatrick said having 45 per cent of its stock as non-food items would hit other traders hard.

He added: “I’m all for supermarkets battling over food prices, but this is a concern. It’s just going to make a bad situation worse.”

Planning officers told the meeting other city centre supermarkets were already underperforming.

And they said Tesco’s promise to create hundreds of jobs was devalued by the fact jobs could be lost elsewhere as a result of the new store.

But Coun David Hopkins said the fact the new store would be competition for others was no reason to refuse it.

The site is allocated for homes and “mixed use” development in the council’s Local Development Framework.

And Coun Ron Halliday said approving the giant superstore would undermine years spent drafting the city’s future.