CHIEFS behind rival supermarket plans in Castleford – who say there can only be one store in the town – have spoken out about their schemes.
Development firm Edinburgh House plans to change the face of the town by creating a large supermarket with 600 car parking spaces, up to 80 apartments and other shops along Aire Street, extending its Carlton Lanes shopping centre, with more stores and refurbishing the Castlefields car park to include 300 spaces.
But Castleford Tigers has signed a deal with Opus Land (North) Ltd to convert its ground on Wheldon Road to a large food store and hopes to submit an outline planning application for its scheme soon.
Asked if both projects could happen, an Edinburgh House spokesman told the Express: “It can’t really. What tends to happen in these situations is you become rivals.
“The government is doing its best to encourage growth in town centres and the view is that out-of-town developments can kill off stores. People go there because they can park easily and fill their boots with everything they need.
“There are new policies to encourage people to go into the town centre to do their main shopping where they may visit other shops. The danger is that out of town shopping centres can suck life out of the town centre.”
The spokesman said the company was “committed” to its Castleford scheme and was currently in negotiations with supermarket operators interested in the site. Asked if the Tigers’ scheme was having an impact on its project, he added: “I don’t think it helps Edinburgh House’s negotiations when there are other options on the table.”
Earlier this year, Tigers announced its pioneering deal with Opus which would provide all the cash needed to build its new £12m stadium in Glass Houghton if planning permission for a supermarket at the Probiz Coliseum is secured. It has claimed the project could spark £150m of investment in the Five Towns and create 2,000 jobs.
Tigers’ chief executive Richard Wright agreed there could only be one supermarket in Castleford – but said it should be at Wheldon Road. He added: “There is a need for a supermarket in Castleford – that’s been widely discussed – but there is only a need for one.
“We believe our plan offers benefits to the community, the Glass Houghton site and the club. We are aware that Edinburgh House has resubmitted its planning application but it’s been in excess of five years and nothing’s materialised.
“The town centre is in need of investment and wider regeneration and we believe our proposal will achieve that. The time is now for investment in Castleford and 22,000 people have supported our plan by signing a petition backing our project.
“The scheme here delivers our stadium. It’s the only scheme that brings a community stadium, bringing wider benefits for the club and community.”
Wakefield Council said there were no planning guidelines to dictate the number of supermarkets in the town and said authories planned for and encouraged the development of shopping facilities in town and local shopping centres to meet the needs of local communities.
But Alison Drake, chairman of Castleford Heritage Trust, voiced fears the rival schemes could blight regeneration in the town and urged both parties to work together.
She said: “We can’t have two companies pulling in different directions. I was a big supporter of Edinburgh House when it first announced its scheme, but Castleford Tigers desperately needs to sell its ground and only a supermarket will buy it.
“Everyone should sit together and find a way to create a vibrant, successful town centre. Castleford has waited long enough.”