Shops to go in store expansion scheme

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A trader has this week voiced his concerns that will see his store flattened to make way for the expansion of Morrisons’ Wetherby supermarket.

Store manager of Sevenoaks Sound and Vision, Richard Meadmore said he had been told that his Horsefair shop will be flattened.

“I have been told verbally by Morrisons that we will be knocked down.

“I am very concerned about this and I feel we have been treated very badly by Morrisons in terms of communication from them.”

Mr Meadmore said his staff were “very concerned” about Morrisons’ expansion plans but said he believed the supermarket chain was under an obligation to relocate his store.

“I want to stress that we are very keen to stay in Wetherby. Moving premises will not be a quick or easy process.

“We have been open four years now in Wetherby and our store is the most successful in the group,” he said.

“We have a wide destination area and we like the fact that we are close to the A1. We are very keen to stay in Wetherby.”

Mr Meadmore added that he had not been told of any possible relocation sites by the supermarket at present.

The supermarket revealed its controversial plans for a major store expansion in Wetherby to shop traders and residents during a two-day exhibition last weekend.

The application to refurbish and expand the store by 10,000 sq ft will be heard by Leeds City Council in May.

As well as the refurbishment, Morrisons says it wants to increase town centre parking for residents and shoppers by refurbishing the Hallfield Lane lorry park and making it free to use.

But the most controversial aspect of the plan is the relocation of shops and business in the Horsefair Shopping Centre to make room for the expanding shop.

Morrisons refused to comment on the effect the expansion will have on surroundings businesses but the Wetherby News understands it would involve three or four businesses relocating.

Mark Zapalowski, manager of Charles Clinkard footwear on the High Street, said he had visited the public exhibition at the weekend and had been assured his shop would not be closed or relocated under the plans.

“I have spoken to Morrisons and they have told me they are going to accommodate as many shops and businesses as possible.

“I think the store expansion will have both positive and negative affects in the town, but for me personally I will be sad to see shops going.”

An ongoing supermarket war in the town has seen planning applications sent to Leeds City Council from Asda, who want to build a store on land near the Sandbeck Industrial Estate, and Sainsbury’s, whose plans for a 25,00 sq ft store on the former Ramada Jarvis hotel site were submitted in January.

Morrisons asset manager, Charles McKendrick, said the public exhibition had been “well received.

“We are now working closely with local businesses who are affected by the expansion to relocate to alternative premises in the town centre.

“While discussions are at an early stage, we want to encourage customers to shop in the town centre to boost the economic health of the town and support local shopkeepers.”

The pedestrianised shopping precinct is currently owned by the supermarket chain, who opened their store in Wetherby in 2002.