Tesco told to shape up

WAITING GAME: Tesco has yet to begin work on its replacement store in Cleckheaton.

WAITING GAME: Tesco has yet to begin work on its replacement store in Cleckheaton.

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TESCO has been told to either start work on its long-planned replacement Cleckheaton supermarket, or shelve the plans completely.

The supermarket giant was granted planning approval in December 2009 for a 4,309sqm food store on the current Northgate site, with a bigger petrol station and car parking spaces across Serpentine Road. Also agreed was the provision for 11 small retail units and a cafe.

However, legal work was not completed until April 2010, meaning the supermarket giant still has 15 months to break ground on the development.

But, no work has been done and a Tesco spokeswoman has confirmed there is no date set for work to start.

In 2008, Tesco got permission to develop the replacement supermarket, before going back to Kirklees Council the following year with a much larger store plan, which was rejected.

Another plan was refused in spring 2009, before approval was granted later that year.

The former industrial buildings at Northgate Mills and Albion Works – where the petrol station would be – are a ‘blight’ according to Coun Kath Pinnock (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton).

She said: “Tesco got planning permission to develop the old Burnhills Mill site but they have just left it to become derelict.

“Given that they have permission, Tesco should get on and do what they promised. That is in the interests of the people of Cleckheaton.”

Traders are less keen for the development to go ahead.

Stefan Simmons, who owns Titan House Business Centre and Body and Soul, was a vocal opponent of the scheme in 2009.

He believes that Tesco’s focus has moved away from larger stores to smaller, Tesco Metro and Local formats.

He said: “I think that a giant Tesco store will do the same thing to Cleckheaton that Morrisons did to Heckmondwike or Tesco has done to Batley. It will kill independent trade.

“I hope that the store, in the form it has permission for, does not proceed.”

Chamber of Trade president Viv Laycock added: “While we understand the need for a better Tesco store, we don’t want the mammoth superstore that was planned.

“Cleckheaton is unique in that it has 45 independent stores and it works really well. Whatever happens, we want the Tesco development to reflect that.”

Follow me on Twitter at @SpenG_Ben. Email me at ben.morgan@ywng.co.uk.