Letter: Supermarket is not best use of site

Brian Dunsby says a Tesco store is not the best use of the gas works site
Brian Dunsby says a Tesco store is not the best use of the gas works site

I was very surprised to read in last week’s Advertiser that Tesco have confirmed they are still coming to Harrogate, despite their own economic problems and the obvious changes in the grocery retailing market and in the local competition.

Harrogate Chamber members have repeatedly voted overwhelmingly to say “NO” to Tesco for ten distinct reasons as follows:

1. Flawed access to the store - from a very busy and dangerous junction

2. Suggested solution rejected - 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 repeatedly raised several concerns about the potential impact of the proposed Tesco superstore in Harrogate, but Tesco management has taken no notice.

Tesco now appear determined to proceed, in spite of the national changes in the grocery market and the forthcoming opening of an ALDI store near the New Park site.

We therefore appeal to Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council to block their planned construction until all of these issues are fully resolved to the satisfaction of local businesses and residents in a proper consultation.

Surely this is the chance to take back control of the whole seven acre Gas Works site and allocate it for a small business park at the south end, affordable housing at the north end, together with a park and ride site and a coach park on the upper level alongside the Ripon Road.

For more details of the above issues send, an e-mail to info@HarrogateChamber.org and request a copy of their free information sheet HC460.

Brian L Dunsby,

Chief Executive, Harrogate Chamber of Commerce