Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman says there is an opportunity to make the town centre better after Tesco pulled out of building a new store.
The Labour veteran has always been against the superstore’s plans for the Southgate site, opposing it throughout its planning stages.
He said: “I was always against it because I felt it would pull the people out of the town centre and across the ring road in the wrong direction from where the majority of shops and services are.
“With this news we need to look at the opportunity and to the future. I’ve been talking to major retailers and there's a team looking at our town centre. Tony Travers, of the London School of Economics, is going to do an evaluation of Huddersfield.
“He’s already met and spoken to Adrian Lythgo (Kirklees Council chief executive) and I’ve been speaking to the council leader about the town centre. This is a chance to get an outside perspective of how we’re doing and what we could be doing.
“Huddersfield is a town with a long history of quality. We have an attractive town which is under pressure and in a sense this adds to it because we don’t know what Tesco will do.
“We’ve got to be careful because Tesco has planning permission and they could sell the site on to another supermarket.
“We should see this an opportunity to look at a quality offer, make Huddersfield a shopping experience unlike any other town.”
Clr Andrew Cooper, whose Newsome ward covers the town centre but not the Southgate site, said: “I’d like the council to have an urgent meeting with Tesco to ascertain what they intend to do with that area of town now they’re not building a store.
“But there is a big question mark about the whole process of planning and public inquiry which has resulted in a huge amount of money wasted.
“I’d like to see the site used for housing for young people with affordable rents there now.”