Wakefield to get new Morrisons store as 500 jobs confirmed for City Fields development
Up to 500 jobs could be created by a new retail and leisure development which will be built on the east side of Wakefield.
And Morrisons has been confirmed as one of the first big businesses to have a presence at the site, which will serve people living in the 2,500 new homes on the City Fields estate.
Besides the supermarket, the complex will also feature 24-hour gym, a coffee shop with a drive-thru, a GP surgery and a mixture of shops and small businesses.
The pub company behind the Toby Carvery and Harvester chains has also been signed up to the development.
The scheme was given planning permission by Wakefield Council committee at a meeting on Thursday.
Asked by one councillor how many jobs the development may create, Alistair Cliffe, from developers Spawforths, said: "We think it will create 500 jobs potentially, because the GP surgery is quite big.
"There will be maybe seven GPs working out of there, and then with the Morrisons that will bring a lot of full and part-time staff."
Mr Cliffe suggested work will start on creating the units imminently, though he put no timescale on when it may be completed.
Although Conservative councillor Samantha Harvey suggested the scheme might hurt shops in Wakefield city centre by drawing footfall away, Spawforths' representative said it would "alleviate pressure" on the city centre.
He added: "It's also to satisfy the needs of the people living in the 2,500 homes on City Fields.
"There’s people moving into those homes now. This needs to come forward now, because if there’s any further delay it will put more pressure on the centre."
No more shopping chains have yet been confirmed for the retail units which will be built, but Mr Cliffe said the space would be "flexible" and would be able to accommodate a mixture of small businesses.
And he addressed concerns that young drivers may cause anti-social behaviour on the development late at night.
A management company will monitor the site, while number plate recognition will be used for crime prevention purposes.
Coun Jacquie Williams said: "I’m concerned that we’re going to have problems that we’ve seen elsewhere, because things are still open and there's nothing to stop people going on here late at night. Number plate recognition is fantastic but it doesn’t stop them going on in the first place.
"My concern is yes, we might know who it is (afterwards), but we still might have people going up and down Neil Fox Way with speeding cars and such like."
Mr Cliffe replied: "We have explored that. It doesn’t discourage people from going onto the site. There will be a management company running this and they will be clocking the cars as they go in and out. The gym will also be 24 hours.
"I hope actually the fact that there’s 24 hours activity at the site will discourage that kind of thing, because there will be lots of people about using the facilities."
Local Democracy Reporting Service