Supermarket plans at old mill with promise of hundreds of Leeds jobs abandoned by Tesco

Picture by Rui Vieira/PA Wire
Picture by Rui Vieira/PA Wire
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Plans for a supermarket on the site of a derelict west Leeds mill have been abandoned by retail giant Tesco, it has been announced today.

The proposed facility at the old Stonebridge Mills site, in Farnley, was hoped to bring at least 200 jobs to the area.

It is one of 49 planned supermarket developments that Tesco has cancelled as the company responds to like-for-like sales falling 2.9 per cent in the 19 weeks to January 3.

The company will also close 43 mainly Tesco Express convenience stores nationally, although the locations of which are not yet known.

Dave Lewis, Tesco’s chief executive, said: “It is with a heavy heart that I am today announcing that we are unable to proceed with 49 planned new store developments across the UK, including our planned store in Stonebridge, Leeds.

“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.”

The company submitted detailed plans to Leeds City Council in 2011, which included the regeneration of the 200-year-old mill complex by converting buildings into affordable flats and apartments.

Plans also included the refurbishment and retention of the Grade II-listed mill, water tower, mill chimney, workers’ cottages and a number of out-buildings, which would have created a further 200 jobs.

In response to the plans, which were approved by the council, hundreds of residents signed a petition led by the Save Your Local Shops campaign group.

Campaigners claimed that they were refused permission to turn the land into a playground nearly two decades ago.

Mr Lewis added: “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.”