Sleepless nights over store plans

Alison Hall and Surinder S Sidhu with petitions against plans for a new store at the old Harrison Gardner Site. (d05041121)
Alison Hall and Surinder S Sidhu with petitions against plans for a new store at the old Harrison Gardner Site. (d05041121)
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A NEW mini-supermarket on the site of the old Victoria Dyeworks in Hightown would have a devastating impact on two neighbouring stores their owners have warned.

Hightown Off-Licence at Miry Lane and Hightown Stores and Post Office in Halifax Road have each launched a petition against the plan which is part of a bigger scheme to develop the derelict site.

The site owners, Harrison Gardner, have submitted a planning application to build 38 houses, a 35-bed nursing home and six industrial units.

However while the scheme has been generally welcomed by the commununity, it is the inclusion of a convenience store which has caused unrest.

If approved the store — up to four times as big as the existing shops and with 20 parking spaces — would be just four doors away from Hightown Off-Licence.

Alison Hall from Hightown Stores said they had both invested heavily in their shops in recent years to provide modern and well-stocked facilities for the local community.

“We’re not against the whole development. It’s been an eyesore for a long time and something needs doing with it,” she said.

“We welcome the homes, nursing home and industrial units, but the thought of this big convenience store is giving us sleepless nights. The area can’t sustain three shops and our customers are saying there’s no need for another.”

Surinder Sidhu from Hightown Off Licence said customers had started a petition at his shop, gathering more than 100 signatures in just two days.

“If this went ahead it would be a nightmare for me and for my family’s future,” he said.

“We don’t work over 100 hours a week for it to all go up in smoke. They might say the mini-supermarket would create jobs, but they’d be threatening the jobs at our shops. It’s potentially devastating for our businesses. If the developers want to talk to us about this we would be happy to meet them.”

The petitions are in both shops and will be presented to MP Mike Wood.