Planning chiefs say yes (and no) to Tesco

Issue 501

Six out of eight planning applications for a controversial Mirfield Tesco store were approved yesterday (Thurs).
Tesco’s proposals for a satellite dish, canopy and gantry at the former Black Bull pub on Huddersfield Road were passed by Kirklees councillors at a packed Dewsbury Town Hall meeting.
The votes on each were close, with Heavy Woollen Planning SubCommittee chairman Coun Paul Kane having the deciding say on two of the matters that were approved.
Also given the green light was a yard, the shop front and car parking signs – subject to Tesco making them smaller and more discreet.
But external shop signs, regarded as too big and brash, and a cash machine proposed for front of the building were rejected.
Tesco had already agreed prior to the hearing to reclad a disabled ramp in stone after a row broke out over the structure being changed to brick.
The supermarket giants are opening an Express store in the town centre and made separate bids for changes to the historic building.
They did not need planning permission to move into the pub, which dates back to 1755, but do need it for alterations to the building.
Coun Adrian Murphy summed up the mood among councillors on the planning subcommittee.
He said: “There’s been so much about this development that we haven’t been able to control that we should do what we can.”
Numerous speakers criticised various aspects of the eight applications, with the cash machine attracting much comment.
Many said the lack of car parking and the oneway system made it a poor location for an ATM.
Tesco claimed it could only go there as anywhere else would leave customers open to robbers and the machine vulnerable to ramraiders. 
Coun Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield) said the supermarket’s claim that it has to be on the front to guard against ramraids was bogus.
He said: “I’ve checked with the police and there have been no ram raids in Mirfield recently. It would also affect the character of the pub’s historic front.”
Coun John Lawson (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton) added: “It’s a paradox that Tesco say one on the side would attract criminals but one on the front wouldn’t.”
The cash machine ended up being rejected, as were the external signs, though the shop front was passed.
Coun Andrew Pinnock said of the shop front: “We have to be careful in balancing the need to protect a heritage building with modern usage.
“It’s also no good having a heritage building that is empty. This strikes that balance and I’m happy for it to go ahead.”

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