Bob Jones’ letter (September 15) rightly suggests that the plans for a new Tesco superstore on the former New Park gasworks site should be consigned to the dustbin.
Harrogate Chamber members have repeatedly voted overwhelmingly to say “No” to this Tesco plan for ten distinct reasons :
1. Flawed access to the store - from a very busy and dangerous junction
2. Suggested solution rejected - to create a much larger roundabout
3. Local school and business impact - due to much more traffic
4. Retail grocery trade competition - will affect existing local retailers
5. Gas tank and pipeline safety - H&SE advised against these plans
6. Land and stream contamination - former gas works residues on site
7. Alternatives for New Park site - small business park and affordable housing
8. National planning policy - many councils and inspectors block large stores
9. Changing UK retail grocery market - convenience stores more popular
10. Tesco’s financial position - closing stores and selling sites for housing
Harrogate Chamber has previously raised serious concerns about the potential impact of the proposed Tesco superstore in Harrogate, but the councils and Tesco management have taken no notice.
In view of their deteriorating financial situation, we now question whether Tesco will actually proceed - especially following the opening of an Aldi store very near to the New Park site.
Furthermore, the current construction of flats on the former Little Wonder site makes visibility at this busy junction much worse. So we ask why did NYCC Highways approve these plans without any objection on road safety grounds?
Harrogate District Chamber understands that both the NYCC and HBC are perhaps in a difficult position with Tesco doing just enough to comply with planning regulation and hold on to the plan of eventually building a store in this site. It would be more beneficial to the town to allow qualified independent experts to re-evaluate and fully research an effective solution to some if not all the problems itemised above.
If they cannot be solved, then the superstore should not be built and the site should be sold and released for a much needed small business park and a large area of affordable housing, together with a coach park and a park and ride site on the upper level alongside the Ripon Road.
Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce