Tesco objects to rival plans

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SUPERMARKET giant Tesco has confirmed its interest in building a food store in Castleford after objecting to a rival developer’s bid.

In a letter to Wakefield Council’s planning department, legal representatives for the food firm said renewed plans by Edinburgh House for a £50m development scheme – including a supermarket – in the town centre should be refused.

Tesco said the Edinburgh House plans for a large supermarket, 80 apartments, retail outlets and car parks on Aire Street – originally submitted in 2005 – were “unviable” and would provide a “sub-standard shopping facility.”

Deborah Hayeems, Tesco corporate affairs manager said: “Tesco is always looking for opportunities to create new shopping choice and jobs, and we are seeking a suitable site in Castleford.

“We do not believe the Edinburgh House site is operationally viable and this is probably why it has not been developed by any supermarket.

“If we do bring forward proposals for the area we will consult fully with the local community before submitting a planning application.”

If Edinburgh House’s application is renewed by the council next year, it could jeopardise Super League plans for Castleford Tigers.

The rugby league club signed a deal with Opus Land (North) Ltd in March this year to convert its ground on Wheldon Road to a large food store.

Club chief Richard Wright told the Express last month the pioneering deal would provide all the cash needed to build a new £12m stadium in Glass Houghton if planning permission for a supermarket at the Probiz Coliseum was secured.

Andrew Duncan, director for Opus, said: “Our negotiations with major food operators are continuing and are at an advanced stage.

“However the Edinburgh House plans to renew their existing planning consent are a distraction and are slowing down our progress.

“We believe our plans with Castleford Tigers at Wheldon Road present the best possible benefit for the town, the community and the club.

“Edinburgh House has had plenty of time to deliver their scheme, it has been mentioned since 2004, but clearly it is not viable.”

Edinburgh House submitted the application for renewed planning permission – which expires next Feburary – last month.

A spokesman for the company said: “While we are aware of the inevitable objections from rival developers, which have yet to be substantiated, we remain committed to proposals that enjoy considerable support from residents and that are more aligned to national planning policy.

“Edinburgh House is a long-term stakeholder in Castleford and is confident that these proposals will preserve and enhance the town centre over the long-term.”