Knaresborough residents fear supermarket plans 'will do more harm than good'

The international supermarket chain Lidl is proposing to build a new store on Chain Lane
The international supermarket chain Lidl is proposing to build a new store on Chain Lane

Residents with homes adjacent to a potential new supermarket in Knaresborough have voiced concerns over the plans, which could get the seal of approval next week.

The international supermarket chain Lidl is due to have it's plans for the site, the former Co-op building on Chain Lane, assessed by the planning committee on Tuesday, July 25. However some residents of the Paddock, whose homes currently face the car park of the site, fear the impact of the plans is not being recognised.

Joyce Tinkler spoke to the Advertiser saying she feared the plans, which have been through several rounds of revision, could still cause problems. Among those she highlighted was the rising of land levels, currently residents see the top of the old Co-op building from over their fences.

Residents believe that the increase of an average of 1.5m across the site could leave them with customers and delivery drivers in the car park able to see into their homes. The work to carry this out, transporting 20,000 tonnes of soil, could see 1,000 two way trips by lorries.

She said: "I am worried that we are going to have people looking through our bedroom windows, or we will have headlights shining through them.

"We will have lorries coming back and forth, bringing with them an increasing level of noise and air pollution. The building is going to be so high and dominating the area, it's going to tower over us. The co-op currently sits in with the surrounding area."

Paddock resident, Grant Woodfine added that he was concerned over the effect the raising site levels could have when combined with the building, which would stand at 78m by 32m.

He said: "There are no extra amenities offered, the Co-op at least had a post office and pharmacy. It is a monster that will dominate if the ground levels are raised.

He added: "Raising the ground will cause more harm than good both in the long term and the short term for the all residents of Knaresborough, not just the immediate residents."

Joyes's daughter, Catherine Tinkler, voiced her own disappointment at the planning officer's decision to recommend the site.

She said: It is devasting to know that Harrogate Council are putting this forward for approval 'on balance'. However my family and many others are paying an ultimate price. Our privacy and health for generations to come.

"The gains of Lidl, such as employment and market presence, could be accomplished if the ground level was not raised. I feel that we have positively contributed to the community though many years of teaching and growing up in our beautiful market town and we have been sold out to a huge market chain with short sighted consequences.

Lidl have responded to the concerns raised by the Paddock residents, noting that Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) have not raised objections to the plans as they currently stand. Alongside this they said details such as site levels and hours could be commented on by residents before work would go ahead.

A Lidl spokesperson said: “This planning application has been thoroughly reviewed by Harrogate Borough Council. The Council’s Environmental Health Officer has raised no objections and the planning officer has recommended approval, subject to Lidl satisfying a number of pre-commencement conditions. These conditions are detailed in the officer’s report and are aimed at ensuring that any impacts on neighbouring residents are minimised, should the application be approved.

“We have taken on board all of the comments made by the planning committee members on the previous application and substantially re-designed the store. The store footprint is around 20% smaller and the height of the building has been reduced and will now be single-storey. We have reduced the amount of glazing and increased the use of brickwork.

“People who know the former Co-op site will be aware that it slopes down significantly from Chain Lane. Therefore any new development on this site will require the land levels to be altered. To offer reassurance to neighbouring residents, our precise site levels will be submitted and approved by the local authority before any work can commence.

"In addition, site construction, including works to level the site would be detailed in a Construction Management Plan which would be agreed by the local authority at a later date, and the officer’s report makes clear that residents would have an opportunity to comment on this. This Construction Management Plan would include details of the hours of operation, size, number and duration of these works to level the site. Finally, the style and height of the proposed boundary fencing would also be a pre-commencement condition to be agreed with the local authority.”