More than 600 comments and letters have been received by Pendle Council over plans by Tesco to build a superstore in the town.
The overwhelming majority are letters distributed by the newly-formed Town Independent Community group, which is opposing the application, that have been signed and returned by individual residents and traders.
The Co-operative Group, which is currently the town’s main food store, has weighed in with its own objections to the new store being built.
The firm has submitted a report to the council prepared by consultancy firm NJL to assess what it thinks the true impact of a new superstore would be.
Referring to the Pendle Borough Local Plan which sets out the conditions under which such an application would be considered, NJL said: “The planning application site is not located within or on the edge of a defined centre of local shopping centre. Therefore, it must be evidenced that the site will be well served by a choice of means of transport, is close to the centre and will have a high likelihood of forming links with the centre.
“Due to the site’s location at more than 400m from the defined town centre, and the nature of the journey from the store to Barnoldswick Town Centre, it cannot be considered that there is a high likelihood of links trips taking place.”
The Co-op also quoted a Pendle Retail Study which was carried out in 2007 and which recommended that large developments designed to serve a wider catchment area than just West Craven should be sited within or on the edge of Nelson or Colne.
In November, 2011, The Co-op commissioned a shopper survey over four days. Of the approximately 200 people interviewed, the firm said 65% did not dislike anything about Barnoldswick, 7% thought Barnoldswick had a poor range of shopping provision, 62% said they would be more likely to utilise the Tesco than the town centre and 43.3% believed the proposals would have a negative impact on the town centre.
Additionally, The Co-op outlined its own prominence within the town and said improvements had been made with a recent re-fit of the store.
NJL said the store “acts as an anchor where shoppers congregate, use the car park and use it as a point to visit surrounding shops and services.”
Saying a Tesco would have more of an impact on its store than its developers had conceded, The Co-op presented three case studies to Pendle Council, outlining other areas it said Tesco had opened and had an adverse impact on its trade. In all cases, the firm said Tesco had massively underestimated just what effect it would have.
In a separate assessment of Tesco’s comments on transport to, from and around the store, a report by the firm Croft, commissioned by The Co-op said: “The site will have an impact on the surrounding highway network where improvements need to be provided to mitigate the impact of the proposed development.
“In the majority of these locations there is sufficient doubt as to whether these improvements can be delivered (on) land within the control of the applicant or the currently adopted limits of the highway.”
Pendle Council has also received a number of comments supporting the application.
A Facebook page, “Say yes to Barnoldswick Tesco” has also been set up, attracting more than 150 members’ “likes”. They include store opening times, lower prices and convenience among their reasons they want a Tesco superstore into the town.
The application will come before Pendle Council’s West Craven Committee for councillors to make a decision, though a fixed date for this has not yet been set.