A supermarket war is raging in Wetherby - Asda plans releasead, Sainsbury’s still aiming to set up shop at Mercure hotel site and Morrisons aims to expand

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A SUPERMARKET war is gathering pace in Wetherby. Three supermarket giants – Morrisons, Asda and Sainsbury’s – could soon be vying for custom in the town.

Existing supermarket Morrisons is planning to extend its Horsefair centre store by an extra 10,000ft sq to give it a more spacious look and wider aisles.

Morrisons in Kirkstall

Morrisons in Kirkstall

Meanwhile, Asda wants to open a store and has this week revealed details of its plans for a supermarket on the fringes of the town, with the creation of an extra 200 jobs.

The store wants to build a 30,000ft sq supermarket with petrol station and around 350 car parking spaces on a stretch of brownfield land on the A168 Hudson Way behind the Sandbeck Industrial Estate.

An Asda spokesman told the Wetherby News it could be a 24-hour store.

And Sainsbury’s, as revealed by the Wetherby News in January, has submitted a planning application to Leeds City Council to build a 25,000ft sq store at the former Ramada Jarvis Hotel site on the entrance to the town.

A public exhibition of Asda’s plans will take place at Wetherby Town Hall on Friday 16 and Saturday March 17 from 9am to 6pm.

Asda’s senior property communications manager Philip Bartram told the Wetherby News this week: “We are very keen to bring the benefits of a new Asda store to Wetherby, for prospective customers and colleagues alike.

“We are equally keen to learn what the community thinks of our plans, prior to submitting a planning application.

“Asda is not the only retailer with plans for a new store in Wetherby but we firmly believe our scheme has major advantages over other proposals.

“We are looking to redevelop an industrial brownfield site, where the infrastructure needed is already in place, so no residential areas would be affected and the site can link closely with existing traders in Wetherby.”

“We really would like to learn more about whether people share our views on those potential long-term benefits.”

Speaking on behalf of Morrisons, property asset manager Alistair Smith said: “With so much supermarket interest now being expressed in Wetherby, there is clearly a lot at stake for the town. Thw wrong decision could adversely affect this thriving centre.

“For some time now we have been considering our options to extend our popular store. Whilst our plans are at an early stage we felt it important to make everyone aware of our intentions.”

If Asda and Sainsbury’s stores are built, all three stores will be less than two miles away from each other.

Owner of Wetherby Post office, Nish Kanabar, said the latest supermarket plans will not alter shop traders stance to object to the plans.

He said: “I am opposed to any supermarkets coming to Wetherby. It doesn’t matter if it’s a different name above the door.

“It will have a detrimental impact on all shop traders, especially food shops and eating places as all these places will be in direct competition.”

He added that he felt ”kept in the dark” by the proposals on the supermarket plans.

Mayor of Wetherby, Coun Cindy Bentley, said she did not feel Wetherby needed any more supermarkets: “I do not think Wetherby can support another supermarket.”

“In the future that may change if there is more housing developments in the town.”

“It has been shown that supermarkets on the fringes of town discourage trade into the town centre and have a very adverse affect on local shop traders.”

As part of the Morrisons refurbishment, the store will work with Leeds City Council to increase town centre car parking by refurbishing Hallfield Lane car park to a free car park and rearranging the site to provide 160 spaces to shoppers and workers in the town.

The car park currently charges £2 for all day parking.

A planning application is due to be submitted in May, a spokesman for Morrisons said.