A FAILED bid to bring a supermarket to Mirfield was just a ‘fishing’ exercise, a councillor has claimed.
Coun David Pinder (Ind) suggested that developer St James Securities never had a client waiting in the wings.
It comes after the firm withdrew its application to build 30,000 sq ft premises on Station Road.
The developer would only reveal “one of the big four” supermarket chains was interested in the former industrial site.
Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s ruled themselves out while Asda declined to comment.
Coun Pinder said: “Normally, confidentiality agreements aside, an applicant is usually willing to let you know who they’re bringing in.
“But in this case all they would say is it was one of the big four major supermarkets.
“No matter how the town council and Kirklees Council phrased the questions, they wouldn’t say any more.” He said the developer may have been trying to use the lure of an unnamed major company to get planning permission.
Coun Pinder said: “It was a speculative bid by the developer, who wanted to get planning permission and then go to a supermarket.
“That’s only my personal opinion, but we were all confused about why they wouldn’t tell us who they were working with.”
The proposed site is the former Veolia Water works at the junction with Lowlands Road.
Plans were submitted to Kirklees but the authority did not get to rule on them before they were withdrawn earlier this month.
Asda later confirmed they did consider the site but have no current plans for a store in Mirfield.
Coun Pinder said he hoped the land could now be used for a revamp of the nearby railway station. He added: “I believe more car parking and better access to the platforms would be of greater long-term benefit to Mirfield.”