Delight as plans for Leeds Tesco store are scrapped

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A group which campaigned against a new Tesco store being built in Leeds welcomed news that the plans have been scrapped.

Tesco announced on Thursday that the proposed store, at the vacant Stonebridge Mills site, in Farnley, would not be going ahead.

The plans were hoped to bring around 200 jobs to the area, but have been shelved along with 49 other developments nationwide as the company reacts to like-for-like sales falling 2.9 per cent in the 19 weeks to January 3.

Jessica Nandhra, secretary of Save Your Local Shops, said: “We’ve breathed a sigh of relief today. The plans were not only bad for local businesses, but they were bad for the local community. My children’s children should be able to enjoy the Stonebridge Mills site.

“There are trees and wildlife that have been there for hundreds of years, all of which would have been lost. Yes, 200 jobs may have been created, but how many of them would have been from the local area?”

Farnley and Wortley Green Party councillor Ann Blackburn said: “Local shops objected to the plans. The Stonebridge Mills site was never right for Tesco. There is a school very nearby and extra traffic would have been created.

“And with the news that Tesco is closing stores, it makes you wonder how long it would have stayed open for, anyway.”

She said she did not know what will happen to the site now that plans have fallen through.

Tesco originally submitted plans for the redevelopment of the site in 2011. They included the regeneration of the 200-year-old mill complex into apartments. They also planned to refurbish the Grade-II listed mill, water tower, mill chimney, workers’ cottages and a number of outbuildings, which would have created a further 200 jobs.

Save Your Local Shops handed a petition against the plans with hundreds of signatures to the council.

Campaigners say the authority refused them permission to turn the land into a playground nearly two decades ago.

Dave Lewis, Tesco’s chief executive, said yesterday: “Our performance as a business has fallen significantly short of where we would want it to be and my absolute imperative has to be to protect the future of our business for the 300,000 colleagues we employ in communities all over the UK.

“I know that this news will be a real disappointment to many people in the local community and we’re extremely grateful for the support we’ve received for our plans.

“I am very aware of the importance of the site to the area and I am determined that we will work closely with Leeds City Council to find the right solution for the local community.”