Convenience store plans the ‘worst seen in 40 years’, angry councillor says

South Kirkby Health Centre could be knocked down to make way for a Co-op food store. (Google Maps)
South Kirkby Health Centre could be knocked down to make way for a Co-op food store. (Google Maps)

Plans for a new Co-op store on a busy road are “the worst seen in 40 years”, according to a local councillor.

The supermarket chain wants to build a new convenience store on the site of the empty South Kirkby Health Centre, on Barnsley Road.

But the plans have been put in jeopardy after councillors said that the location of the proposed entrance to the car park, on Barnsley Road itself, would be dangerous.

They want the Co-op to turn the store around so customers have to drive to it from the adjoining Langthwaite Road.

The Co-op said that they had ruled out all alternative entrances and added they did not want to be “unco-operative” on the issue.

In an impassioned speech to Wakefield Council’s planning committee on Thursday, objecting Coun Steve Tulley said: “There are 1,100 HGVs a day going past this site.

“There is an abundance of convenience stores in the area. If ever there’s a place to put a convenience store, it isn’t there.

“From a health and safety point of view, this is the worst application in 40 years in local government I’ve ever seen.”

Coun Tulley said that the Co-op could “take” their approach to the issue and “put it somewhere else”.

He added that the store might attract anti-social behaviour.

He said: “This (Barnsley Road) is probably the busiest road in the Wakefield district, right from the top of Minsthorpe all the way down.

“We don’t need a convenience store stuck bang, smack, on one of the most dangerous junctions anywhere.

“We’ve had an anti-social behaviour and drinking problem in South Kirkby which we’ve spent years trying to put right.

“We don’t need another site flogging booze to 16 and 17 year-olds.”

Speaking to the committee on behalf of the Co-op, Tony Aspbury, said: “We’ve been looking at the traffic going up and down the road for two years and we have looked at all the options. We decided that none of them work.

“We recognise there is a potential issue here and we are trying to address it. We’re not being unco-operative.

“It’s not in the interests of the Co-op to operate a site that’s dangerous for customers and other people, and doesn’t work.”

A decision on the plans was delayed until later in the year while talks between the council and the Co-op continue.