Store war over ‘flawed’ plans

New propsedTesco - the link from the store to city centre via Thornhill Street.
New propsedTesco - the link from the store to city centre via Thornhill Street.

TESCO claims it has “huge” public support to build a city centre superstore – but rival supermarkets have not been so enthusiastic.

Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Asda complained to council planners considering a proposal to build a Tesco Extra on Ings Road Retail Park.

The rival supermarkets intervened over fears the Tesco, which would create hundreds of jobs, would cause traffic problems and take business away from existing retailers in the city.

In letters to the council’s planning department, the supermarkets questioned the assessments of the impact on traffic and nearby retailers used in the application.

Sainsbury’s vacated a site next to the proposed superstore last year to move to Wakefield’s Trinity Walk Shopping Centre. But the firm reopened its store at Ings Road after Tesco announced it wanted to move in.

Sainsbury’s described the transport assessment as “fatally deficient” and retail evidence as “fundamentally flawed”.

Asda claimed the assessment of retail impact made some assumptions based on “no evidence”. And Morrisons said the plan was likely to lead to “significant adverse impacts”.

Morrisons and Sainsbury’s also suggested the plan was not in line with planning policies for the area.

Tesco has announced changes to the plan, which includes a pedestrian link via Thornhill Street, landscaping and space for public art.

Deborah Hayeems, Tesco’s corporate affairs manager, said: “We know that we have a huge amount of support from the community in Wakefield.

“We are aware of comments from our competitors, but we are focused on the views of the hundreds of local residents we have spoken to who want to see more shopping choice and new jobs for local people.”

Tesco expects 450 jobs to be created at the new store, with up to 40 per cent guaranteed for the long-term unemployed.