Co-op walks away from developing old South Kirkby Medical Centre on Barnsley Road as building put up for sale

The Co-op has stunned a local community by walking away from a site it spent three years trying to develop into a food store.

By David Spereall
Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 3:47 pm

The supermarket chain finally got planning permission to convert an old medical clinic in South Kirkby in December 2020, after a tetchy and lengthy battle with objectors and Wakefield Council.

Just 15 months on however, the Co-op has said it no longer has any interest in the scheme.

The Barnsley Road property has now been put up for sale at a guide price of £400,000 by its developer owner.

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The former medical centre has now fallen to rack and ruin.

One long-standing critic of the Co-op's original plans accused the business of "creating a hive of anti-social behaviour", with the derelict building having being targeted by vandals.

A spokesperson for Central England Co-op said: “We never owned this site but, previously, had been in talks to take on the lease for a new store subject to planning permission.

"However, we have since decided that will no longer pursing plans for a store at the site."

Asked specifically why the Co-op was walking away from the scheme, the spokesman said: "We have just decided not to move forward with our plans for a store in the area. I am afraid I have been given no further detail than that."

An artist's impression of how the store would have looked, had the Co-op built it.

The Co-op's first planning application to convert the site was knocked back in 2018 by the government's Planning Inspectorate.

The Co-op had appealed to the Inspectorate over the way Wakefield Council had handled the case, after local councillors and residents raised road safety concerns.

The supermarket soured relations further by demanding Wakefield taxpayers to cover their legal bills for the case, though this too was rejected.

Amended plans were put forward the following year and later approved.

Councillors say the derelict eyesore property has become a "hive of anti-social behaviour."

South Elmsall and South Kirkby councillor Michelle Collins said: "The Co-op rode roughshod over our community and everyone that objected to their plans, going full steam ahead at any cost.

"It is absolutely unacceptable that they have left the building in the state it is in, creating a hive of anti-social behaviour.

"It seems the Co-op's message that they wanted to be a part of our community is only true when they can make a profit on us."

Local Democracy Reporting Service