Leeds superstore’s 24-hour opening bid rejected

Artist's impression of the store.
Artist's impression of the store.
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A BID by supermarket giant Tesco to open a new Leeds store for 24-hours a day has been thrown out.

Planning chiefs have rejected the firm’s extended-hours application for the new, as-yet-unbuilt superstore at Stonebridge Mills, Farnley.

Initial highways work could start on the site this Autumn, and the store – granted approval in 2011– could open next Spring.

A meeting of Leeds council’s South and West Plans Panel heard passionate objections from locals to the round-the-clock opening request.

It was claimed that a 24-hour store’s car park would become a magnet for trouble, in an area already plagued by drug dealers and prostitutes.

One resident told the panel: “If the car park is not barriered off, it will attract these people.”

A spokeswoman for Tesco told the panel that impact on the local community – and existing businesses – had already been assessed when the initial application was approved, and it was “deemed acceptable”.

“Tesco seeks to serve communities and 24 hours is preferred by many people,” she said

She said store bosses would be happy to have a one-year trial with ongoing monitoring of the effect of extended opening.

However – when questioned about the extent of discussions with the community – she admitted the firm did not consult with locals about 24-hour trading specificallty.

This was despite Tesco claiming, in a report presented to the panel, that it “seeks to open food stores at times that suit the local community they serve”.

The report added that there are several other 24-hour superstores in Leeds, and the aim was to “provide local communities with the modern retail provision and choice they now expect”.

Rejecting the application, panel members said the firm was “putting the cart before the horse”.

Members urged the company to work with the existing approved hours and to come back with a renewed application at a later time.

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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