Beeston store wars – planning officers recommend rejection of both Asda and Tesco plans

After a year of battling it out locally on the PR front, supermarket giants Asda and Tesco go head to head next week when their rival planning applications for stores in Beeston go before a Leeds City Council plans panel.

And if councillors on the panel follow the advice of planning officers, neither of the two proposals – Asda’s for a new bigger store on its current Old Lane site and Tesco’s for a new supermarket on a neighbouring site – will get the go-ahead.

Reports prepared by planning officers for a meeting next Thursday (8th November) of the council’s plans panel for the south and west of the city admit that both applications have the support of local communities, and both would bring jobs and wider economic benefits to the area.

But both, the reports note, would damage the chances of nearby Dewsbury Road attracting a similar supermarket and could also result in the decline of existing stores elsewhere in Beeston (on Town St and the Tommy Wass crossroads) and of small-scale convenience stores in the area.

The Post Office has also raised concerns that a duplication of services from either of the supermarkets would potentially reduce its business.

“Downward spiral” of Dewsbury Road

Dewsbury Rd

The big sticking point for both applications in planning officers’ eyes is the likely impact on the northern end of Dewsbury Road – an area officially designated as a “town centre” in the  council’s plans – and to a lesser extent on Holbeck.

“Dewsbury Road is acknowledged to be a town centre that is poorly performing in terms of its provision and that it lacks the large anchor store that could stimulate further commercial and retail provision,” say the reports, which in their key findings are worded identically for both the Asda and Tesco proposals.

“A new food store operator in or close to that centre could stimulate jobs, income and visual enhancements that could kick start regeneration of the wider area. Without this it is likely that Dewsbury Road will continue in its downward spiral with potential for further economic loss,” they say.

The Old Lane sites where both Asda and Tesco want to build are designated as “out of centre” sites. For such sites to be accepted for a supermarket, the applicant has to prove there isn’t a more suitable site in a nearby area that’s higher up the council’s development pecking order.

Both firms say they’ve looked and found nothing suitable. The council’s planners say they haven’t looked hard enough.

“It is not considered in this case that the applicants have adequately demonstrated flexibility in their business model, or put forward enough justification to fully discount other sequentially preferable sites, particularly in the Dewsbury Road area given the primacy of this area in the retail hierarchy.

“For example there are large areas of industrial development very close to the Dewsbury Road town centre but there is no assessment of whether any of these areas are available, viable or suitable.”

Conflict with policy

Tesco illustration

In conclusion, both reports note:

“… this is a town centre use being proposed in an out of centre location and it is likely to detrimentally impact on the ability of Dewsbury Road, and potentially also Holbeck, to provide retail and economic vitality for their respective areas.

“This would effectively go against policy in both the UDPR (framework development plan) and the draft Core Strategy which seeks to promote Dewsbury Road as a town centre and to bring about opportunities for growth to take place here.

“Given this conflict with policy and the potential disbenefits, it is not considered that the proposal can be considered to represent sustainable development and is therefore recommended for refusal.”

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18 Responses to Beeston store wars – planning officers recommend rejection of both Asda and Tesco plans

  1. Alison Neale says:

    “A new food store operator in or close to that centre could stimulate jobs, income and visual enhancements that could kick start regeneration of the wider area.”

    Wow, no wonder the supermarkets have taken over the country if all planners have that viewpoint! A supermarket doesn’t bring new jobs, as other shops will close when trade moves and entire businesses will fail. Owners of smaller shops will probably spend locally, but the supermarkets will take every penny far far away, having an effect on income in the area. ‘Visual enhancement’ is a matter of opinion, too, as I’m not convinced that Asda et al. are exactly pretty to look at – I’d much rather see a row of grocers, bakers and butchers with their diverse produce on display. Dewsbury Road certainly isn’t pretty, but it isn’t suddenly going to go all upmarket by launching a new Sainsbury’s. Good grief.

    • Phil says:

      Every deprived area of Leeds needs real shops that people can walk to and which promote a healthy community. Supermarkets are a curse.

  2. Bywater blog says:

    I think that this is good news, that Leeds City Council actually have a policy and a plan that is in the interests of shoppers and not the big supermarkets.

  3. Aaron says:

    So great, no us who live in the Cross Flatts area have to make do with an overpriced Co-op… Either that or walk a considerable distance in a very undesirable area to get to the Dewsbury Road ‘centre’.

    There is a reason Dewsbury Road is failing, there is no parking, and its an unsafe area.

    Besides, I thought planning guidelines were there to protect the best interests of the area, clearly the best interests of the area is for a new supermarket due to the vast support they have gained, but no, some clueless clown in the council ignores the public will as usual and we get to live with derelict brownfield sites for several years to come.

    • Phil says:

      It is always those who don’t drive who suffer LCC palnning blunders. Leeds is full of supermarkets….If you have a car.

  4. Paul Thomas says:

    Why do supermarkets – i.e. large shops – exercise some people so much?
    And why are they so enamoured of ‘small business owners’ over larger ones – holding onto this bucolic vision of the butcher, baker, grocer etc? I remember before there were supermarkets when my mum would have to traipse from one shop to the next to choose from a limited range of produce. Far from supermarkets being a ‘curse’, they provide greater variety often at cheaper prices, and under one roof. That’s seems pretty good to me. Who wants to spend any more time and money than they need to on food shopping.

    • Bywater blog says:

      That is perhaps what people want. But we are becoming a nation of fatties, because of the products that the supermarkets sell us, and because we no longer exercise enough.

      • Paul Thomas says:

        We’re not becoming a nation of fatties, and as life expectancy keeps rising, it’s not necessarily a problem if we were. We’re also responsible for our actions. So if we do become fat, that’s entirely our own fault, not supermarkets – who sell similar products, but just a greater range, to small shops beloved of ‘anti-consumerists’.

      • freedomnow66 says:

        I agree but don’t assume that because life expectancy goes up, what we eat isn’t having a detrimental affect,longer life expectancy is largely due to lower child mortality rates…
        Am sorry it’s just not practicable to live in a world of corner shops.. and if u like that, great there are still plenty out there but if u think 65,000,000 to 70,000,000 people should shop like that, ure plainly bonkers!!

  5. I think the council are trying to do “the right thing” by focusing on an area that they believe could do with a leg up. Less convinced that plonking a supermarket on an industrial estate near Dewsbury Rd will somehow magically change the area’s fortunes.

    Their belief that that’s how positive development works can’t just be guesswork. It must be based on a bona fide study of where something similar has happened and “worked” elsewhere. Til I see that study, however, I’m unconvinced.

  6. Phil says:

    Paul Thomas, Instead of destroying local shops we should have improved the ones we had and created more so that people needn’t “traipse” to them. Greater choice is merely an illusion provided by a vast array of replicated items (100 varieties of shampoo, soap, cereal etc) all this variety and choice could have been provided by improving and increasing the number of local shops. In short the only argument for the existence of supermarkets in Leeds is a blinkered economic one. The damage caused by supermarkets is immense.

    • Paul Thomas says:

      Phil, no one is ‘destroying’ local shops. They go out of business if they don’t turn a profit, like all other businesses – including supermarkets. And, of course, many survive, because we still need convenience stores, or as specialist shops providing items even supermarkets don’t stock.
      Greater choice isn’t just an illusion – multiple versions of the same item. Supermarkets provide produce from all over the world that in the past only the wealthy few could enjoy. But then there does seem to be a growing nostalgia in our increasingly green-tinged times for a past that offered most people a limited, dearer range of produce. However, you say all this variety could have been provided by increasing the number of local shops. What do you want some kind of ‘local shop preservation and creation plan’? I think what’s ‘blinkered’ is your defence of the economic interests if small business owners.

  7. freedomnow66 says:

    Phil my first reaction to ure reply was… bonkers!!! U not wrong, or at least not wrong for some of society!!! If we could all enjoy and have the time to frequent a miriad of small independent corner stores wouldn’t that be quite lovely …. but Phil the reality of this situation is quite different!! Were not living in Mary Poppins land unfortunately many people see shopping as a bore and just want to get it done and move on!!! Either that or quite appreciate the lower prices Offered by the big four!!! If we were to take the supermarkets out of the equation the logistical nightmare would be without question immense!!! I have worked within food production for the masses along with logistics all my adult life, and until u have quite frankly you have no comprehension as to the scale and depth of feeding us….. we need supermarkets!!!!! U can hate them if u like but there here to stay and if u still don’t get the role of supermarkets.. stand outside any of the distribution hubs for a day and then imagine a line of corner shops for as far as the eye can see!!!! And then imagine a truck turning up at them all…. I could go on but am sure u get the picture!!!! I hope!!!

  8. Bywater blog says:

    The council are not saying, and nor anyone else, that we shouldnt have any supermarkets. But a mix of large and small shops, in the right place; for the benefit of all.

  9. freedomnow66 says:

    O I think Phil may disagree!!! No ure Right the council haven’t said that, just Asda and Tesco haven’t looked hard enough!!! There doesn’t seem to be an obvious site, I wonder is that perhaps down partly to the fact, Dewsbury Road isn’t a town center????

  10. Phil says:

    Paul, a socio-economic strategy of urban sprawl and car dependency signalled the demise of good quality local amenities and healthy functioning communities throughout Leeds.
    Freedomnow, in a healthy well planned society shopping and commerce in general would increase our quality of life. Currently everything is reduced to the lowest common denominator : in favour of profit above all else. why should those with the least imagination shape our lives.
    Bywater, you make a good point. I am not opposed to supermarkets as such. What I am against is the socially irresponsible form they take. I would be happy to see more supermarkets in Leeds if they were intelligently placed and served everyone. thank you.

  11. Beeston bred says:

    No mention of the fact that Iceland are opening in the old Kwik save building on Dewsbury Rd, thats going to hit a lot of local shopkeepers hard

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