Store Wars: Concern as supermarket giants bid to open rival village shops

Concerns are mounting over plans to open a new supermarket on the edge of a village, just yards from where another looks set to open.

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 4:30 pm

Co-op has submitted an application to transform an office block, Matrix House, on Bradford Road in Wrenthorpe.

But just a few hundred feet along that stretch, Sainsbury's has applied to convert the shop frontage of the Declans furniture store and applied to sell alcohol from 7am to 11pm daily.

And the move has led to concerns from the residents who have discussed the matter over social media.

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Co-op hoping to open a store at Matrix House (top left) with Sainsbury's wanting to open on the corner of Bradford Road and Wrenthorpe Road (bottom right).

Susan Jones said: "It would change the feel of the village detrimentally I think.

"The traffic will be a nightmare, cars parking on the main road and side streets, affect the visibility of the residents getting out of the side streets on to an already busy Bradford Road.

"Snow Hill isn’t far away for fresh produce. Sainsbury’s is hardly a village shop! And if the planning application for the co-op at Matrix house goes ahead too, it will be awful for those residents in the adjacent houses."

Joanna Orrell added: "I think there will be mixed feelings about this, if it goes ahead.

"There will be many who will welcome a greater choice and range of products without having to jump in the car and drive to the supermarket.

"And those who will be concerned about traffic, parking, and the impact on the independent shops, and the families behind them, in the village that have served the community well for many years."

Twenty-five letters have been submitted to Wakefield Council's planning department so far over the Co-op plans, with a mix of views.

The majority are against the plans, citing increased traffic and questioning the need for another convenience store.

One objector said: "This planning application by the developer for a Co-op store appears to be a cynical commercial ploy to use 'convenience store' rules to open a small supermarket.

"It will open an hour earlier at 6am and close an hour later at 11pm than the bigger store at Outwood, and will also open the same hours on Sundays and Bank Holidays."

Another neighbour said: "Our garden backs onto the rear of Matrix House. We are extremely concerned about the negative impact the proposed change of use will have on our property and enjoyment of living where we do.

"When we researched the area and decided to buy our family home in 2017, we would never of purchased a property that backs on to a large Co-op convivence store and feel this will have a negative impact on the value of our property for the future."

Despite the obvious objections, there were some letters of support.

One wrote: "I am in favour of this development as this building is falling apart, the bushes are overgrown and the whole building and area is unsightly."

Another commented: "Wrenthorpe needs a decent supermarket for its residents, within walking distance for the community. There is a very limited alternative."

A decision on the Co-op and Sainsbury's plans will be made at a later date.