A DECISION on whether a Tesco superstore will be built in Barnoldswick has been deferred by councillors who want to consider it together with a plan for an Aldi store.
More than 200 residents and local traders, along with representatives of Tesco and the developer behind the plans, Liberty Properties, attended a special meeting on Monday evening for members of the West Craven Committee to consider the application. It had been recommended for approval by planning officers.
Several of them spoke passionately on both sides of the argument.
Resident of Vicarage Road, Tracy Platt said: “Tesco is going to have a detrimental effect on where I live as the service yard will be behind my house. I will have lots of noise pollution and will never be able to move because who is going to want to live behind a Tesco service yard? If Tesco opens, I will never shop in that store.”
Jane Wood, who is also a member of Friends of the Earth, said: “Vibrant town centre shops contribute to the local economy, promoting the town’s unique character. Friends of the Earth have been monitoring what has been happening across the country. A Tesco store would not bring any advantages to Barnoldswick; it will just make it a clone town.”
Speaking for the application, resident Sarah Riley, who set up a “Say Yes to Barnoldswick Tesco” Facebook page with nearly 200 followers, said: “Residents have told me a new supermarket will bring more people to the town, and instead of leaving every weekend to do their shopping, people can stay in Barnoldswick. It is so difficult in this town to do your shopping. I work six days a week and can only shop after 1 p.m. on a Saturday when the shops are closed.”
Simon Hoare, consultant for Liberty Properties, told the committee the plans represented a vote of confidence in the town.
He said: “Planning is policy driven and the committee report is as clear as crystal. There are no policy reasons to warrant refusal. This plan generates capital, allows L&P Springs to make a significant investment and creates 175 jobs.”
Pendle councillor David Whipp said: “People clearly feel very strongly about this issue and it is something that continues to divide the town.
“Clearly a decision has to be taken in accordance with national and local planning policy. If we reject the application without good reason, then a government inspector would just come along and approve it.”
Coun. Whipp proposed, and other councillors agreed, that the potential impact on retail in the town needed to be looked at further, as well as a sequential test that considers where the most appropriate site for the development in the town is. Councillors agreed a separate application for an Aldi store on the other side of Skipton Road should be considered at the same time.
Speaking after the meeting, Matthew Magee, Tesco Corporate Affairs Manager, said: “We know that the development, which will create up to 175 new jobs as well as helping to safeguard jobs at L&P Springs, is very popular with the local community. The council has received close to 1,000 letters of support for the scheme.
“We remain committed to working with the council on our proposals and our priority remains to bring forward the best possible scheme for the people of Barnoldswick. We are looking forward to presenting to the council’s planning committee again at the earliest opportunity.”
Planning Manager Neil Watson said it would take around six weeks for a report on both plans to be prepared.