A supermarket chain is looking to build a convenience store on a site in Birkby which currently houses three auto specialists.
The news came as a shock to one of the businesses, Shak’s Specialist Cars on Birkby Hall Road, which has just a few months in which to find alternative premises.
Business manager Waqas Shaikh said representatives of Sainsbury’s had already been round to measure up.
Mr Shaikh, also known as Adam, said: “It came out of the blue. We are devastated and upset. We are like a family here and have built the business up from scratch eight years ago. We have an emotional attachment to the place too.”
Mohammed Ramzan, of Sam’s Autos next door, said: “It’s quite a shock. It didn’t sink in straightaway.”
Sam’s has been there nine years and the third business, Birkby Motors, has been there for 16 years.
“It is not a good time for all of us,” added Mr Ramzan.
A Kirklees Council source said: “The redevelopment of the site would require planning permission as would the change of use. The application would be publicised at the time.
“The main issues, amongst others, would be the impact on the Conservation Area, the amenities of surrounding residents, highway safety and the impact on other local centres.”
One resident, who did not want to be named, said: “I would like to voice my concern about this as my house backs onto the rear of Shak’s garage and I do not want a busy shop on my back doorstep.
“It will also affect the local shops which the whole community uses.”
But Giancarla Ceron, 35, of Storthes Road, who lives just yards away from the proposed development, said: “I don’t have a problem with it. I will use it if it happens.”
Sainsbury’s confirmed it was looking to build a Sainsbury’s Local convenience store, creating 20 full and part-time jobs.
Paul Sellers, acquisitions manager for Sainsbury’s, said the store would be a “significant investment” in the local community. It would be open from 7am to 11pm, seven days a week.
It is expected a planning application will be submitted shortly.
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