Petrol row 'could kill' Leeds town's hopes

Plans for a massive new superstore which would "rejuvenate" a west Leeds shopping district and bring 400 jobs to the area have been thrown into chaos by a row over whether a petrol station should be included on the site.

A blueprint for the 90,000 sq ft store on Carr Crofts in the heart of Armley is due to go before the city's planning chiefs next month.

Ninety per cent of locals backed the plans in a recent survey.

But now, just weeks before the crunch decision, locals fear a recommendation by council planning officers to ask developer Morbaine to remove the planned petrol station on conservation grounds could scupper the whole project and halt the town's regeneration hopes.

A petition to keep the petrol station has now been started, spearheaded

by local politicians including MP Rachel Reeves and councillor Alison Lowe.

They will be rallying signatures and support in Armley Town Street on Saturday, January 22.

Copies of the petition are also being held at New Wortley Community centre and at Armley Helping Hands, based at the Strawberry Lane Community Centre.

Coun Lowe said: "They want to conserve a waste transfer station, a stinking, festering rat heap! It's an eyesore.

"The petrol station cannot be worse than what's already there.

"It is being built behind quite a high wall, made of reclaimed stone from local buildings, which will hide it."

She said the filling station itself was a vital element of the whole scheme and would bring in more shoppers.

Coun Lowe said: "What the development will bring to Armley Town Street is immeasurable".

And the councillor added: "The misguided do-gooders who live in nice, leafy not understand that regeneration is what will conserve Armley. The supermarket will regenerate it."

If it gets the go-ahead the new as yet unnamed megastore would sit on stilts above a weatherproof car park, the petrol station and a new open town square linking directly with Town Street.