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Campaigners to take fight to Government
Opponents of plans for a bigger Tesco store in Ilkley are lobbying the Secretary of State, after Bradford Council approved the scheme.
Ilkley ward councillor Martin Smith is spearheading the bid to block the retail chain’s plan to build a new supermarket off Railway Road and Mayfield Road.
Although approved by Bradford Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee last Thursday, the plan for the new store can also be called in by the Secretary of State.
In a vote which split the committee, councillors approved both Tesco’s plan for a new store and the outline plan to redevelop the existing Springs Lane store site as business units, offices and a residential care home.
Labour members of the committee agreed with Council officers that nothing had changed significantly since original plans were approved as the result of a public inquiry in 2010.
Three Conservative councillors sitting on the committee opposed the plans.
Ilkley residents, representatives of local organisations and ward councillors spoke at the meeting, calling on the committee to reject the schemes.
They told the committee traffic had increased in the area, and retail trends had changed – and they questioned retail assessments statistics for the area.
A request from a councillor to carry out a site visit was declined.
Committee chairman Councillor David Warburton (Lab, Wyke) told residents who attended the meeting he had himself visited the site.
“I have empathy and sympathy with the people of Ilkley,“ he said, speaking at the end of the debate on the Springs Lane site.
“What’s before us is what went before the inspector, our hands are somewhat tied.”
Councillor Imran Khan warned refusing permission would lead to another appeal.
Now Coun Smith hopes the Secretary of State will listen to campaigners and block the scheme. He said: “We must now see what we can do with the Secretary of State for Planning as the approval will be sent there for vetting.
“Thanks to all who support the objection campaign after four years and having to wait another five years, as claimed by Tesco, for a store we do not want, is not acceptable and our efforts must now rest with the Secretary of State.”
Keighley and Ilkley MP, Kris Hopkins, said: “I have been opposed to all plans for a new Tesco store right from the outset, and recently wrote to the Council’s planning department to restate my views.
“I am deeply disappointed that Labour members of the Regulatory and Appeals Committee failed to listen to the views of Ilkley residents, who rightly feel betrayed. In my capacity as the constituency MP, I have now written to the Secretary of State to make clear that this planning application does not have my support.”
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