Supermarket giants Tesco and Asda have been given fresh hope they could both be given planning permission to build stores in a south Leeds neighbourhood.
Planning applications submitted by both companies to build large supermarkets on adjoining sites in Old Lane, Beeston, were recommended for refusal by planning officers.
But members of the council’s south and west plans panel made it clear they were minded to approve both schemes.
They deferred a decision on both applications so that officers could prepare a new report assessing the traffic impact on Beeston and the effect on other south Leeds shopping areas if the two stores were to be built.
Tesco is seeking consent to build on the site of the Moorhouse jam factory, while Asda wants to demolish its existing store – formerly a Netto and develop a larger supermarket.
Officers recommended the applications be refused on the grounds that the proposed new supermarkets could undermine efforts to attract investment to the Dewsbury Road shopping area. They also argued that the applicants had failed to demonstrate that sites near to Dewsbury Road were not available.
Dewsbury Road is designated a town centre and council policy is that retail development should take place there ahead of out-of-town locations.
Coun Rod Wood (Con, Calverley and Farsley) said there was support for a supermarket to be built in Old Lane.
He said: “I am of the opinion we should approve both and let them decide whether or not to build. I don’t want to sort out a commercial case for one against the other.”
Coun Peter Gruen (Lab, Cross Gates and Whinmoor) said there might be other creative ways to improve the Dewsbury Road town centre without building a supermarket there.
Coun Mick Coulson (Lab, Pudsey) said he could not think of a Dewsbury Road site big enough for a large supermarket.