A SUPERMARKET chain’s plan to close down a long-standing lorry park in the heart of Wetherby would cost jobs and affect the town’s economy, claim opponents of the scheme.
Proposals to refurbish Hallfield Lane Lorry Park will be put forward to Leeds City Council this month by supermarket chain Morrisons, which is intending to extend its existing Wetherby store by an extra 10,000 sq ft.
Under the new scheme, the Hallfield Lane Lorry Park would become free to use for car drivers, with a mix of medium and long-stay parking, but lorries would no longer be permitted to use the site.
Now businessman John Gray, who has held his lease for the lorry park for more than 40 years, has told the News he was disappointed with the proposal and said the plans would mean that four members of his staff would lose their jobs.
He said: “I am very disappointed. This will mean four people losing their jobs, loss of revenue for the town and loss of revenue for local traders who rely on the lorry drivers.
“Most of all, where are the lorry drivers going to go?
“The car park will be refurbished, so I can see some positives, but there will be an awful lot of negatives to this and a lot of people affected for the extension of one supermarket store.”
Mr Gray, owner of the Travelbox in Collingham, added that many lorry drivers who park at the site are “very upset”.
“A lot of the lorry drivers have been here for many years and spend money in the town.
“They will stop here for something to eat on an evening, they like the atmosphere of a market town.”
Mr Gray is now on a rolling monthly contract with landowners Leeds City Council as he awaits a final decision on its fate.
Wetherby resident and pensioner Trevor Kemp, 71, a HGV driver for more than 47 years, said he believed there would be nowhere for lorries to park in Wetherby if the site was to close.
He said: “The situation with the lorry park has been going on for years.
“I think the Hallfield Lane lorry park in Wetherby is too small but if that goes, where are the lorry drivers supposed to go?
“There is nowhere for them to park at the moment, there are no toilets facilities for them in Wetherby either. It is a poor situation.”
Meanwhile, 65-year-old resident Barry Brewster, of Victoria Street, told the Wetherby News he would support the closure of the lorry park.
He said: “I could hear the lorries rumbling past at about 9pm last night.
“It is ludicrous that there is a lorry park in such a position. We shouldn’t have any HGVs here other than for the delivery to supermarkets.”
The lorry park was created more than 40 years ago for HGVs stopping off in Wetherby.
Cars are currently permitted to park there between the hours of 7am and 6pm for a fee of £2.
The A1(M) Moto service station allows lorries to park for a fee of £21 with a food voucher.
Coun Gerald Wilkinson (Cons, Wetherby) said there would be no provisions made for the lorry drivers.
“We feel the lorries should not be there at all and have made no provisions for a replacement lorry park site in the town,” he said.
“The site is not needed in the centre of a market town.
“Residents of Victoria Street and Walton Road have had to put up with being disturbed by lorries at five o’clock in the morning for a number of years.”