Tesco in Harrogate

Tesco talks to Harrogate-News about their plans

2 September 2011


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.








  1. The President, the Management Group and the active members of Harrogate Chamber of Trade & Commerce have studied TESCO’s proposals and many supporting documents in great detail on several occasions and they have unanimously agreed that they should be rejected as damaging for Harrogate’s economy and potentially dangerous for local residents.

    The Chamber strongly opposes Tesco’s revised Planning Application for the following reasons:

    Traffic Congestion
    Road Safety
    Gas Safety
    Retail Trade Impact
    Inadequate Mitigation measures
    Failure to consider alternative solutions

    Our reasons for objecting under each heading are set out in a 20 page report which can be accessed via the following web link: http://www.harrogatechamber.org/tesco .

    The current application will result in massive traffic problems so unless and until there are proposals which really tackle and solve this issue; this is not a suitable location for a supermarket. There are also recognised serious safety hazards on this site due to the live gas holder and pipework that need removing entirely.

    Even then we need effective measures to link the proposed new Store to the Harrogate Town Centre and to the District’s Market Towns in order to mitigate the potential damage to the established retail trade across this District.

    We therefore urge the Harrogate Planning Committee to reject the current proposals on the following grounds:

    · Traffic congestion – on New Park roundabout, A59, A61 and cross-town

    · Road Safety – especially on Ripon Road and Ripon Way

    · Gas Safety – gas tank leakage; pipeline damage; cyanide residues

    · Retail Trade Impact – Jennyfield; Town Centre; Market Towns & villages

    We are willing to sit down with TESCO and the Planning Officers to work out a solution that protects all the long term interests of Harrogate District businesses and residents – wherever they are located. The desires of local residents for a very convenient Superstore should not outweigh the wider community interests.

  2. I am completely against having a tesco in Harrogate. It is not that I dislike tesco, we just do not need it. Yes it will create jobs, but tesco have underestimated the effect this will have on other businesses, so I believe it is a case of moving job opportunities rather than creating them. We are not a big city, we do not need anymore supermarkets. We have enough choice and a good range of supermarkets and convenience stores. I will be extremely dissapointed if tesco get the go ahead. Please, please do not let this happen, it is not needed!

  3. I work for the co-op on ripon road. We have been serving customers for many years. The co-op are a very ethical business that have been growing slowly but surely for a very long time. Please do not let tesco come in and destroy our stores success, by quite simply bombarding people with brain washing adverts about price. I do not want to lose my job with the co-op, they are a fantastic company and I would hate to have to resort in moving to the tesco store for a job where I would be a number rather than an individual.

  4. It would appear to me that the objections being raised by the Harrogate Chamber of Trade & Commerce have been well addressed in the replies from the Tesco representative, and I fail to see how leaving a derelict eyesore of a site is preferential to having a Tesco store in town, that it is reported the majority of residents support and want.

    Traffic congestion – there will actually be LESS congestion due to a reduction in cross town traffic that currently has to use Skipton Road to get access from the north and west to the other supermarkets.

    Road safety – the roads will be no less safe than they already are. Where is the evidence for that statement?

    Gas safety – the facilities will be well protected from the vehicles moving on site at a snail’s pace. The threat from tank leakage is minimal, and no more with a Tesco present than at now. And there are always cyanide residues on an ex gas site, but leave them in the ground and they pose no problems at all. Unnecessary scaremongering again.

    Retail trade impact – I’m sure that there will be changes, but can’t be a bad thing for Tesco to attract visitors to Harrogate. It’s up to the Chamber to get them to sample the delights of the town too.

    Having a Tesco will be fantastic for the town, inevitable, positive, and it’s up to us all to embrace and exploit the opportunities it brings us.

  5. Who are these people who want to deprive the public of choice? In the end the market decides what they want. It is up to us where we shop and I for one would like the possibility of shopping from Tesco rather than having to travel miles further to Sainsburys or Morrisons on the other side of town. This debacle has gone on long enough with a consequent waste of public (i.e our) money.

  6. Think about this Harrogate. There are plenty of supermarkets in Harrogate – realistically the only people who wish to have this supermarket are not the people who live in New Park or alongside the A59. The increase in traffic will be destructive. Consider the fact that the land was aquired prior to TESCO by a Housing Company who wished to build on that land and it was REJECTED by HBC who decided that the traffic and other structural issues would deem it inappropriate. WHY ON EARTH WOULD HBC ALLOW TESCOS NOW!? To create 300 jobs? Not really a good enough reason to build a supermarket. Another comment to note is that the residents along Electric Avenue have been alongside the Gas Works for a long time and it does not bother them. I am 100% certain there have been no ‘eyesore’ complaints … but there will be noise increase ( till 11pm with lorries coming and going!) and light pollution (flood lighting for the car parking) and an increase in traffic alongside all entrances. Wise up Harrogate – you do NOT need a TESCOS!!!

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