Retailers face defeat in fight to stop supermarket plans at former Leeds police station site

An artist's impression of Aldi's supermarket plans for the former Holbeck Police Station.
An artist's impression of Aldi's supermarket plans for the former Holbeck Police Station.
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Plans to demolish a former south Leeds police station and replace it with a budget supermarket look set to be given the green light despite objections from local businesses.

The former Holbeck Police Station, in Burton Road, Beeston, could be knocked down and replaced with an Aldi supermarket and additional retail unit with 100 car parking spaces.

The plans have attracted 53 letters of support from neighbouring residents, and 30 objections from businesses in Dewsbury Road, fearing that the opening of a budget supermarket could drive trade away from Beeston’s Dewsbury Road town centre.

Neighbouring firms, including a Tesco Express and Iceland, have voiced fears that the planned store could see small businesses close and result in job losses while some residents have concerns over traffic and the loss of mature trees.

A report on the Aldi plans, which recommended them for approval, will go before a meeting of Leeds City Council’s South and West Plans Panel tomorrow.

Couns Elizabeth Nash and Mohammed Iqbal (Lab, City and Hunslet) are among those to object to the plans. The report states Coun Iqbal “is of the view that the supermarket will have a serious impact on small corner shops and convenience stores and as a result, put them in hardship”.

Coun Nash added that she has concerns about the traffic impact as well as the impact on other businesses.

Supporters of the scheme, however, would welcome the added choice, job opportunities and budget prices that could help lower income families.

If approved, construction of the supermarket could start imminently as Aldi’s intentions for the site are “immediate”. The store could open in 2015.

The development would create more than 65 new jobs, while construction of it would bring up to 200 temporary positions.

Aldi’s development, which would be built by Quora, would make use of the site which was originally put up for sale by West Yorkshire Police last year and marketed as suitable for “either a refurbishment project or alternatively wholesale redevelopment for a variety of uses including residential and retail”.

But the 1970s building, which was vacated when WYP’s officers moved to the new multi-million pound police headquarters at Elland Road in April, looks set for demolition under Aldi’s plans.

In the council report officers have described the “modest” plans as providing a potential “anchor” for Beeston.

The report states: “The emphasis of planning policy is to consider the health of the centre as a whole and indeed the National Planning Policy Framework actively promotes customer choice.”