Disputed Tesco plan for Wakefield costing taxpayers thousands

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Wakefield Council is paying out thousands of pounds in taxpayers’ money to process a planning application for a Tesco superstore it does not want built.

The council is opposed to Tesco’s plan for a 24-hour store on Ings Road - but has already paid £27,000 to outside consultants and lawyers to assess its potential impact on the city.

And the cost could rise higher after the Planning Inspectorate called a five-day public inquiry to decide on the disputed planning application early next year.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show the council has already paid £9,616.80 for advice from retail consultants and £8,248.80 for legal advice.

Two other reports into the planning application cost the council £4,800 and £4,500.

Ian Thomson, the council’s service director for Planning and Highways, said: “We have a duty to fully assess the implications and impact of any planning application.

“In considering this planning application we needed to fully assess the local traffic implications of the scheme and the impact on the viability of the city centre and other shopping areas.

“Due to the complexities of this case and the legal issues it raised we needed to bring in external experts and seek barrister’s opinion where necessary.”

The council and Tesco are negotiating a date for the planning inquiry next year.

Tesco lodged an appeal claiming the council was taking too long to process its application.

Councillors then voted against the new superstore at their October planning committee, saying the 10,000 sq metre store would damage city centre trade and cause traffic chaos.

Tesco said hundreds of jobs would be created and 40 per cent would go to the long-term unemployed.

The supermarket giant had also pledged nearly £1.2m towards road upgrades, and almost £500,000 to fund another free city bus.