We therefore appeal to Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council to block their planned construction until all of the following issues are fully resolved to the satisfaction of local businesses and residents in the promised consultation.
There are ten important reasons why Tesco’s current plans should be blocked by the two Councils.
1. Flawed access to the Store
The proposed access arrangements to the Store at the junction of two key radial routes through Harrogate are totally impracticable and very dangerous in the opinion of businesses in the vicinity.
2. Suggested solution rejected
Our solution is to demolish the Little Wonder Pub and the Gas Storage Tank and pipework and then create a much larger roundabout with separate access for customers' cars and suppliers' lorries
3. Local School and Business Impact
Disruption and traffic congestion around New Park will have a very serious impact on nearby Infant and Primary Schools and also on several small businesses along Ripon Road and Skipton Road
4. Harrogate Retail Grocery Trade Competition
The local market is not growing sufficiently to support yet another Superstore, so we are concerned that the viability of independent retailers could be adversely affected, and hence the local economy.
5. Gas Tank and Pipeline Safety
The plans do not meet required safety distances for hazardous installations and the Health & Safety Executive officially advised Harrogate Borough Council AGAINST granting planning permission.
6. Land & Stream Contamination
The site is contaminated from its previous use as a traditional coke-fired gas works. A stream through the site will be impaired by construction work and by parking of lorries and cars once the Store is open.
7. Alternative uses for the New Park Site
Superstore should not be built and the whole 7 acres site should be sold and released for a much needed small business park together with a large area of affordable housing, near to the Town Centre.
8. National Planning Policy
Council planning committees all over the UK are rejecting proposals for large out-of-town stores and Government Inspectors are often rejecting appeals against Councils’ refusal of planning permission.
9. Changing UK Retail Grocery Market
Consumers are seeking quicker and easier ways to shop for their groceries and related goods. Hence the rise in popularity of small convenience stores, on-line shopping and home delivery services.
10. Tesco’s financial position
Following a severe drop in profitability, Tesco is closing 43 unprofitable stores in UK, including seven superstores, and they have scrapped plans for 49 new large stores in the UK that have yet to open.
Harrogate Chamber urges both the Borough and County Councils to put a hold on Tesco’s current plans for a new Superstore in Harrogate whilst qualified independent experts re-evaluate all the ten commercial, environmental, safety, technical and traffic risks summarised above, as detailed in earlier correspondence. Delaying construction of the proposed Harrogate Superstore will allow time for all of these issues to be more fully researched and effective solutions sought if practicable and economic. If they cannot be solved then the Superstore should not be built and the site should be sold and then released for a much needed small business park together with a large area of affordable housing.