The second public inquiry into planning issues at Boston Spa in a matter of months has concluded, with parish councillors left waiting for the inspector’s final decision.
The inquiry, which took place over two days, was called to discuss the planning application to transform the Crown Hotel into a Tesco Express.
It was called after the supermarket chain appealed the Leeds City Council (LCC) decision that the pub had some use as a hotel. Tesco refute this and say the hotel use on the site was ‘purely ancillary’ and as such they shouldn’t have to apply for a change of use application.
The parish council presented information from residents contesting this argument and are now fighting for the continued presence of a hotel in the village.
Coun Tim Baker told the Wetherby News after the inquiry: “It seems that businesses these days aren’t ready to accept what the planning authority’s position is with these continual challenges.
“LCC and the parish council and the residents of Boston Spa have gone to great lengths to point out the problems that would arise if Grove Road was built on, and we don’t want to see the loss of amenity in our village. It feels like we are under attack.
“The parish council presented written statements from people like previous tennants and people who have worked there and stayed there, and that formed part of LCC’s argument that while nobody is suggesting that the main thrust of the building was given over to the hotel, it did have some use in the seven letting bedrooms.
“What we are saying is that we don’t want this loss of amenity in our village and that if Tesco want to get the use of the building they should apply for proper permission rather than skirt around it.
“I said to the inspector the building talks and it is telling you very clearly it has had some use as a hotel, so we hope the inspector dismisses the appeal from Tesco.”
In May 2014 the parish council were also presenting information at a public inquiry about a planning application for 104 houses on land between Grove Road and Green Lane, again following an appeal from a developer, Miller Homes, of the LCC refusal of their plans which were put before an independent inspector. There has been no response from this inquiry.
Tesco spokesman Mark Thomas said: “We believe that a convenience store in Boston Spa will provide a great service to the community. A Tesco Express at the site of The Crown would create up to 20 new jobs and complement the village’s specialist shops.”