A COUNCILLOR believes a seven-figure land offer shows a supermarket chain is trying to move into the Holme Valley.
The Examiner has seen emails from a surveyor to a landowner offering £1.5m for 3.7 acres in Honley.
It is thought to be the early stages of a deal which could see a super-market – possibly Tesco – move to land in Woodhead Road, Honley.
Rae Watson Development Surveyors made the bid on behalf of Limes Developments.
Limes, a Lincoln-based company, is well-known for buying land for supermarkets.
The company was started in 1986, and is owned by Robert Jolly, 70, and his family. In 2006 it made £4.4m profit on £9.4m sales, but its net assets rose from £35.5m to £41m.
It has a record of developing sites for supermarkets and the like in the East Midlands.
Charles Watson, of Rae Watson Development Surveyors, emailed the landowner on February 9, 2010, to offer £1.44m for the site on New Mill Road in Honley.
The site was once used by Brook Motors as a football pitch, but it closed several years ago.
Mr Watson emailed again on March 23, 2010, to increase the bid to £1.5m.
But it appears the landowner demanded double the price.
A third email from Mr Watson, sent on May 28, 2010, reads: “I was naturally shocked by your demand for £3m for the freehold in response to my offer of £1.5m.”
It is not the first time Tesco have been linked with rumours of a move to Honley.
Last summer, other traders launched a petition to oppose any plan for the retail giant to build on land in Woodhead Road, claiming it would hit local shops.
The petition attracted hundreds of supporters.
Clr Terry Lyons, who represents Honley on Kirklees Council, believes the emails show a supermarket chain wants to move to the village.
The Holme Valley North independent believes Limes wants to buy the football pitch to provide a new home for Kirklees Council’s highways yard and Keith Drake Ltd agricultural merchants, which are currently sited next to each other on Woodhead Road.
Clr Lyons believes this land would then be turned into a supermarket.
He said: “There’s a supermarket wanting to move in, that’s why they want to relocate Drake’s and the council yard.
“As far as I know, the landowner doesn’t want to sell. If they had offered him £3m he would have gone to £4m. He doesn’t believe a supermarket would benefit Honley.”
Clr Lyons added that he would oppose a supermarket in the area.
“I think it would kill the centre of Honley,” he said.
“If everyone went to the supermarket there wouldn’t be the trade. There would be some, but not enough to survive.
“I would like to see some industry on the football pitch site to create jobs, that would be top of the bill.”
Mr Watson declined to comment.
Limes Developments director Marcus Jolly could not be reached for comment.
A spokesman for Drake’s said: “There are always developers looking at purchasing our property because it’s such a prime site.
“At this moment in time there’s nothing definite or proposed.”
A council spokeswoman said: “There are currently no plans to sell this depot.”
Supermarkets have been a controversial subject in the Holme Valley in the last few years.
Tesco wanted to build a 2,342sq m store with petrol station at the former Midlothian Garage site on New Mill Road in Holmfirth.
But the plan was shelved in September, 2009, after strong opposition from some residents and town centre traders.