A DISUSED site in the centre of Kirkburton could be transformed into a new Tesco store.
The supermarket giant has applied for planning permission to build a Tesco Express store on land adjacent to North Road, now the site of a closed petrol filling station.
The proposed two-storey store would have a retail space of 213 sq metres with office space above. The company also plans to have nine parking spaces on the site, including disabled and cycle parking.
The land is run down and the buildings which occupy it are in a poor state. The garage has been closed for about six months and is being used by Kirkburton residents for parking.
Tesco hopes to give the site a facelift with its new Express store. This is Tesco’s fastest-growing format, opening at least 50 stores a year.
Express stores are aimed at local customers who want a convenient place to top up their shopping. Each store stocks about 2,800 lines, including fresh and frozen food, a bakery and alcohol.
The company’s design statement states that the new building, to be created in a well-landscaped setting, would be in keeping with the other buildings in the village – which are mainly stone-built nineteenth century terraced cottages and shops.
The proposed development, which the company describes as high quality and bespoke, would be built with natural stone and a slate roof.
The land sits in a conservation area and measures would be taken to protect the surrounding trees should the development go ahead.
The design statement also says that the development would be accessible, enhance the area while providing “effective integration” with the village.
It states: “A local convenience store within the heart of the Kirkburton centre would (be) very positive to local retailing by supporting the centre’s retail function and generally serve to enhance the vitality and viability of the centre to the benefit of existing traders.
“The building represents a significant improvement on the existing derelict petrol filling station development and would rid the conservation area of a poor and unkempt site which produces incongruity in the built street scene.”
Kirklees Council’s planning officers are now considering Tesco’s application, which is set to be put before the planning committee in January.
The company previously submitted a similar application, but withdrew it in December last year following concerns raised by the Highways department about parking and drivers’ visibility when exiting the site.
Kirkburton ward councillor Christine Smith said residents and local businesses had given a very mixed reaction to the company’s plans.
She said: “There’s been quite a mixed reaction, some people want it, some people don’t. Some think it will be ideal for the community, while others believe that it will do the Co-op out of business.
“I’ve spoken to the business people and most are for it, it’s good to have a bit of competition, but people are concerned that the store would bring a lot more traffic into the village.
“The main problem is that there’s not going to be enough room for parking – nine spaces is nowhere near enough.”
Clr Smith added that she believes planners will recommend refusal of the application to the council.
A spokesman for Tesco’s property department was not available for comment.