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D-Day for campaign against new Ilkley Tesco
Bradford Council has defended its decision to use a consultancy firm which has worked with supermarket chain Tesco, as a committee meets today to decide whether to give the new Ilkley store the go-ahead.
Council planners have recommended that the Regulatory and Appeals Committee grants renewed planning consent for the replacement supermarket off Railway Road and Mayfield.
Plans to redevelop the existing Springs Lane site for business use and a care home are also recommended for approval.
But concern has been expressed by a resident and a ward councillor that global management and technical consultancy, WYG Group – which produced a retail consultation response on behalf of the council – has a history of working with Tesco.
The assessment looks at retail impact in the area.
WYG says in promotional material online it has been working with Tesco for more than 30 years and has made a considerable contribution to its development portfolio Ilkley resident Bev Plaxton, who is opposing the building of the new store, said: “It made me wonder how WYG can give an unbiased assessment of the need for a Tesco store in Ilkley. Is this not a conflict of interest?”
Ward Councillor Anne Hawkesworth (Ind, Ilkley) said: “The public find it difficult to accept that firms of consultants can serve two masters. Employers such as Bradford Council and consultants should take more care to avoid appearance of conflict in the public eye. For this reason, in some professions, the law, it is impossible to serve two masters.”
But Bradford Council says it is satisfied with the work of the consultants.
A statement from the Council said: “We are satisfied that White Young Green, acting as retail consultants for this renewal application have fully considered the relevant retail issues in a professional manner.”
Director of planning at WYG, Keith Nutter, said: “WYG was instructed by City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council to update the 2008 Bradford Retail and Leisure Study (BLRS).
“Our work for Bradford Council has been done impartially and independently of the work we do for any of our other clients, including Tesco.
“Like most professional services organisations we owe our clients a duty to exercise skill and care in carrying out our work.
“We take this duty seriously and any recommendations we have made to Bradford Council are based on our independent judgment.”
Tesco said it was not working with WYG over the Ilkley store.
A spokesman for Tesco said: “WYG Group are working for Bradford Council on this project, not Tesco, and any advice they provide is completely independent.”
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