CAMPAIGNERS have vowed to fight to protect Huddersfield town centre.

They fear plans drawn up between Tesco and Kirklees Council could have a harmful effect – particularly on the town centre.

Now they are urging a fresh look at the plans, which would see a Tesco superstore built in Southgate and a new sports centre on land at Springwood.

Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman, who is backing the campaign, said: “The real priority is for Huddersfield’s future to be as good as it can be.

“My job is to look out for the interests of Huddersfield.”

MP leads Tesco store campaign

A CAMPAIGN group has been launched to examine the controversial plans for a new Tesco store in Huddersfield

The group was set up after a public meeting and it is calling on Kirklees Council not to rush into a decision over the proposed new supermarket on Southgate.

Organisers are also drawing up a petition to rally support.

About 60 people, including business people and residents, attended the meeting at the National Children’s Centre on New North Parade.

Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman, who organised the meeting, said: “There was a very strong feeling from everyone that to pass this planning application before a proper evaluation of its impact on the future of the town would be absolutely crazy.

“The real priority is for Huddersfield’s future to be as good as it can be.

“We have a very rich cultural heritage and we want a vibrant and interesting town that’s attractive to people, both who live here and visit, not just to shoppers,” the MP added.

Under Tesco’s plan Huddersfield Sports Centre would be flattened to make way for the superstore.

A new sports centre would be built on the site of the Springwood car park.

Tesco’s existing supermarket on Viaduct Street would be bulldozed and replaced by housing, offices, shops and a hotel.

Mr Sheerman is worried that the new supermarket would be an eyesore that could damage the environment, cause transport chaos and hit town centre retailers.

He said: “A lot of people agree that it is being put in the wrong part of the town and will pull people away from the town centre.

“At the moment about 25,000 people a week go to the existing Tesco, but to do so they come into town.”

He added that there were worries that no-one was co-ordinating all the proposed regeneration projects for Huddersfield, including plans to revamp Queensgate, the Kingsgate Shopping Centre and the waterfront.

Earlier this month Kirklees leader Clr Robert Light accused the MP of talking down Huddersfield and “sticking his oar in.”

Mr Sheerman responded: “I have never had a reputation for talking the town down. My work has always been to talk the town up.

“I’m an MP and my job is to look out for the interests of Huddersfield.”