Tesco talks to Harrogate-News about their plans

 

Tesco in Harrogate

Tesco’s application for a new supermarket on Skipton Road will be heard by Harrogate Borough Council on the 6th September. It is being recommended for approval and the application will be heard by councillors who sit on the Development Control committee.

Associated Story Opposition voiced to new Tesco store

Harrogate-News interviewed Matthew Magee, Tesco’s regional corporate affairs manager.

We started by asking why Harrogate for a new store?

Matthew Magee:

We don’t have a major supermarket in Harrogate and the northern region is much under-served area of the town. The plot we chose was a derelict plot with good access and it gave a chance to regenerate it.

Questioned more on the safety aspects of having a gas facility in the same area Mr Magee commented:

The Northern Gas Networks facility is currently an essential part of the Gas infrastructure in the region and the land could not be purchased too. It needs to remain where it currently is which would be adjacent to the new store.

We appreciate people’s concerns and have gone to great lengths to ensure there are no safety issues.

We have been involved with the Health and Safety Executive and we have looked into the safety implications. We have completed a report, as have the Harrogate Borough Council and concluded that it is appropriate to build a building of this type.

We be believe that we have a solution that looks at the worst case scenario and under our plans we would provide armco barriers around pipe work to take to take an impact from a 40tonne lorry, leaving the pipes better protected than the current situation

It’s important that people use common sense around the gas safety issues – we simply wouldn’t be building a store in a place we believed was unsafe

The HSE’s general advice when seeking planning works around gas facilities such as this is to advise against , although there are many cases of building work next to facilities such as this. The HSE would still have the ability to call in the application should they wish.

Mr Magee was asked about the volume of traffic from delivery lorries, Mr Magee said:

For a store of this size we expect around 7 or 8 delivery lorries per day between 7am and 11pm, which is not a big increase in volume.

Given where our distribution centres are based, these would mostly be coming from the A1 direction.

We will also be erecting acoustic fencing to reduce any further noise problems to the local residents when the lorries are reversing and unloading.

Mr Magee was asked further about the traffic implications associated with the development, Mr Magee said:

This will cut down cross-town traffic as people will more likely use a store that is local to them. The highways authorities have scrutinised our highways proposals three times and each time they have concluded that the changes from a traffic volume perspective were acceptable and in fact the wider network will benefit from the reduction in overall car miles across the area.

Additional studies were undertake as the responsibility for that was moved from the Borough Council to the County Council.

Section 106 in the planning or the “appendix” to the original plans requires Tesco’s to undertake mitigating action for trade taken away from the town centre.

Matthew Magee:

We will be competing with existing supermarkets of Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.

Under the planning rules we are required to take action on plans that affect town centre trade. That trade also includes the trade by Asda and Waitrose being town centre based. That is the reason for the appendix to the planning request and includes such things as pavement improvement, street lighting and cleaning , making the town centre more attractive to shoppers and improving the links within the town.

The planning process has been in the public eye for an extended period now. Tesco’s themselves undertook a roadshow at the Hydro where it concluded that over 70% were in favour. Letters have also been lodged with the Borough Council where 221 were in favour and 100 objected.

Matthew Magee:

We believe that we have good local support from this, having 221 letters supporting the plans is good as typically people are much quicker to write-in to oppose rather than support. A small percentage of those writing in supporting us did use proforma letters that we gave out in some areas, but they still took the time to give support.

We will take trade away from the other supermarkets in the Town rather than the independents. Those using independents now are likely to carry on using them regardless of an additional supermarket

There will be some impact on the Jennyfields co-op, but that is largely a basket store rather than a full-week shop store which is what the new Tesco’s will be. There will be some impact but not as big as what people expect, and we expect the Coop to continue to trade successfully.

The Harrogate store will be approximately half the size of the York Tesco Extra store and will likely generate around 300 new jobs for the community.

If planning is approved it will likely take 2 years for the build to be complete. The first stage will be the highways work including the widening and strengthening of the Skipton Road bridge.