Co-op store row: Government rules against supermarket plans

The Co-op's plans had been described by one ward councillor as "the worst seen in 40 years", from a health and safety perspective.
The Co-op's plans had been described by one ward councillor as "the worst seen in 40 years", from a health and safety perspective.

Controversial plans for a new Co-op supermarket have been thrown out by the government.

The Co-op wanted to start business on the site of the now defunct South Kirkby Medical Centre on Barnsley Road, but its plans ran into trouble when councillors expressed safety concerns about where the proposed entrance to the car park was.

The former South Kirkby Medical Centre on Barnsley Road, which continues to lie empty.

The former South Kirkby Medical Centre on Barnsley Road, which continues to lie empty.

Calderwood Developments, who applied for the planning permission on the supermarket's behalf, then complained to the government, arguing that Wakefield Council had "behaved unreasonably" and not dealt with the issue quickly enough.

But the government's planning inspector, Elaine Worthington, has backed the local authority, saying that it acted fairly during the process.

A separate application for council taxpayers to pay Calderwood's own legal bill, which prompted fury among local elected members, has also been rejected.

Although Ms Worthington disagreed with councillors' safety concerns about the proposed entrance, she said that converting the former health centre into a supermarket would disturb its neighbours.

In her appeal decision notice, she wrote: "Noise would be likely to arise from the manoeuvring of delivery vehicles and the processing of deliveries.

"Existing noise levels in the location are already high and the site is subject to high backgroun noise levels through the day, mainly from traffic on Barnsley Road, but also from nearby commecial uses including the ambulance depot immediately to the rear.

"In this context (Calderwood) finds the noise impact in relation to daytime HGVs would be acceptable and indicates that the proposal adheres to national policy.

"(But) It seems to me that the the noise from deliveries would be likely to have a different impact to that of more constant and recessive road traffic noise."

Calderwood had claimed, incorrectly, that the council had rejected the plans outright at a meeting in July.

The matter was in fact deferred for further talks between the applicants and the local authority about the concerns that had been raised.

But the developers then decided against meeting council officers, and complained to the government instead.

Ruling against Calderwood's application for costs against the authority, Ms Worthington said: "Overall I am content that the council has not prevented or delayed development which should clearly have been permitted.

"I therefore conclude that the council's behaviour has not been unreasonable and the appellant's costs in mounting the appeal were not unnecessarily incurred."

The Co-op, who previously said it did not want to be "unco-operative" about the matter, declined to comment, and said it was for Calderwood to respond.

Calderwood has not replied to a request for comment.

Local Democracy Reporting Service