THE HOLME Valley supermarket war has stepped up another gear.
According to several local sources, Sainsbury’s has been investigating The Riverside shopping centre, formerly the home of The Lodges supermarket.
Part of the property could be turned into a Sainsbury’s Local convenience store.
The supermarket chain yesterday admitted it was ‘interested’ in Holmfirth but had ‘no confirmed plans’ to build a store in the town.
A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said: “Although Holmfirth is a town that we are interested in, at this time we currently have no confirmed plans for a Sainsbury’s Local convenience shop there.”
The building is owned by Birkby pharmacist Afzal Khan, who owns the Medicare Chemists chain around Huddersfield.
Last year Mr Khan had been in talks with pub chain JD Wetherspoon over the company’s plans to convert the top two floors of the shopping centre into a pub.
Budget supermarket chain Lidl had its plan to build a 1,000sq m store at the former Sicame complex, on Huddersfield Road, approved.
The store is expected to open in autumn.
Upmarket retailers Waitrose and Booths have been linked to a proposal at the Hope Bank Works site, between Honley and Brockholes.
Meanwhile Morrisons and Tesco have been linked with a site, at Honley, which is occupied by Keith Drake animal feeds.
Sainsbury’s plan has been welcomed by Keep Holmfirth Special, which has opposed rival Tesco’s plan to build a supermarket on the former Midlothian Garage site, off New Mill Road.
Tesco’s proposal, which was rejected by Kirklees Council in July, has been sent to the Planning Inspectorate, who Tesco hope will overturn the council’s decision.
Keep Holmfirth Special spokesperson Margaret Dale said: “We would be absolutely delighted to have a Sainsbury’s in Holmfirth.
“Our opposition has always been clear: we are not against supermarkets, but inappropriate developments.
“We suggested that Tesco consider The Riverside and we would have been fine with that.
“Supermarkets would provide additional services and would draw more people into the town centre. If there are more people in the town centre everyone wins.”
Tim Radcliffe, of Holme Valley Voices which supports Tesco’s application, was more ambivalent.
Mr Radcliffe said: “There are parking problems in Holmfirth town centre. I’m not sure about it but I’d rather the building is used than empty”.