Developers ‘very disappointed’ over Sandal M&S appeal rejection

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Developers hoping to open an M&S Food Hall in Sandal have been dealt a hammer blow after their appeal was rejected.

Woodhead Investments was hoping that the original move by Wakefield Council’s planning committee to turn down the plans for the store off Asdale Road would be overturned following an independent review, but the planning inspectorate upheld the decision.

Publishing their findings on October 19, they agreed with the council in that the land, situated near to the existing Asda store, is protected green belt and an alternative site would need to be found.

It was predicted that the 15,000 sq ft store would create up to 50 new jobs, while there were also blueprints to build two new restaurant units on the land.

Melvyn Woodhead, chairman of Woodhead Investments, said: “We are very disappointed with the inspectorate’s result, we had so much support from public.

“We think it’s detrimental for Wakefield with the loss of a potential outlet and discouraging businesses from coming here.

The route of this is that the land is seen to be in the green belt, but it’s overgrown and six foot of weeds that’s never been farmed.

“We shall try again. I’m not one to give in easy, although it is a case of waiting now.”

Mr Woodhead says the company has previously made a representation to have the green belt status removed as part of Wakefield’s unitary development plan, but fears it could be another three or four years before a review is made and a decision is made.

He added: “I would not like to say if they (M&S) would still be interested in three or four years’ time.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman for M&S said: “We are disappointed with the decision and appreciate it might disappoint some of our customers too.

“We will continue to consult with the developers to determine if there is any alternative suitable sites in the area which we can consider.”