Controversial plans to build a 24 hour Asda superstore on the outskirts of Wetherby have been turned down by councillors today.
Leeds City Council’s City Plans Panel rejected the scheme to build a 25,000 sq ft supermarket on land off Sandbeck Lane today after a council report said the plans would have a detrimental affect on trade in Wetherby town centre, making the town less attractive to shoppers.
The plans included a 265 space car park, cafe and petrol station.
Speaking at a packed council meeting at Leeds Civic Hall, Wetherby mayor and councillor Alan Lamb said:
“These plans would have a significant, detrimental impact on the town.
“We want to keep Wetherby the vibrant market town that it is.
“What makes Wetherby great is that is a market town and not a supermarket town and we want to keep it that way.”
Concerns were also raised that the store proposal would encourage shoppers to bypass the town centre in favour of the supermarket, with no sufficient transport link provided between the town centre and the store.
Councillors dismissed a travel scheme by Asda bosses to provide a bus link between the town centre and store after questions were raised over the maintenance and funding of the service.
Addressing the meeting, shop trader Nish Kanabar said a total of 1,124 people had objected to the proposals in a petition against the store plans.
Mr Kanabar said he believed the proposals would take away trade from the town, as well as increasing traffic in the Deighton Road area and creating noise pollution.
A petition set up in support of the store proposals gathered 1379 signatures, with many in favour saying the supermarket would create extra choice for shoppers.
Speaking on behalf of Asda, Philip Bartram , Senior Property Communications Manager, said the plans had been met with a “positive “ response from the community after a number of public exhibitions had been held in the town.
He added that the store would create an extra 200 full-time jobs.
Mr Bartram said: “We want to provide an additional choice to people in the Wetherby area, as well as giving working families a real opportunity to shop with us, which we feel is particularly important in this tough climate.”
The decision follows two years of supermarket interest in the town, with plans for a Sainsbury’s supermarket at the former Ramada Jarvis hotel site on the edge of Wetherby refused by Leeds City Council last year.
For the full story read next week’s Wetherby News.