Fresh bid to build M&S food store

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A formal appeal has been lodged to revive plans for a new M&S Food Hall.

Wakefield Council’s planning committee rejected the blueprints in July last year despite growing support for the development at Asdale Road, in Sandal.

It would have helped create 50 new jobs at the retail park which already has an Asda and Aldi supermarket.

Along with a 15,000 sq ft store, the application included the construction of other commercial 
units, including two new restaurants.

M&S said the site was the only suitable one they had found in this district.

The plans generated plenty of support locally, but the planning committee said the land was green belt and previously undeveloped.

Following strict guidelines, they say exceptional circumstances are needed for approval to be given on green belt land.

But Woodhead Investments & Development Services Ltd, the company behind the plans, argues the site on which the existing supermarkets sits had also been green belt land. The company’s appeal has now been lodged with the Government Inspectorate .

Chairman Melvyn Woodhead said: “M&S and ourselves were highly disappointed by the refusal, bearing in mind the amount of development which has been carried out on what was green-belt land.

“As for the green-belt issue, 98 per cent of land in use in the UK is already green belt.

“That particular piece of land has not been farmed for over 80 years and part of it was used for landfill.

“Our site is next to Asda and Aldi and both these outlets are foreign owned, with their profits going out of our economy.

“What’s wrong with having a quality food hall owned by a British company? And given the current climate, with M&S closing stores, there’s a danger they could move out of the town.”

Mr Woodhead is hoping a final decision on the plans will be made in the next three months.