Tesco urged to scrap Harrogate plans in favour of affordable housing scheme

Artist's impression of the new Tesco store
Artist's impression of the new Tesco store

Supermarket giants Tesco have been called on to scrap their plans to build a new Harrogate and give over the land for affordable housing.

The scheme was brought to a halt almost 20 months ago with Tesco planning on making Skipton Road one way in part for up to ten months.

North Yorkshire County Council called on Tesco to rewrite their ideas and submit a new "traffic management" plan but no plan has since been received.

A spokesperson for the county council said that a traffic management meeting was planned to take place on September 23 before Tesco cancelled the appointment.

County Councillor David Simister (UKIP, Bilton & Nidd Gorge) has now written to Dave Lewis, CEO of Tesco, urging him to rethink his plans for the site.

In his letter, Coun Simister wrote: "I am writing to you in my capacity as an elected representative for this area, and to enquire if you are intending to proceed with developing this store, or dropping your plans altogether?

"During the last 12 months, you have already shelved plans to convert the former Skipton public house in to a Tesco Express (again in my county council division), and, just across the road to the entrance to the proposed Harrogate store, Aldi has opened – and is proving a phenomenal success.

"Perhaps this particular ship has already sailed?"

Coun Simister told Mr Lewis that what Harrogate needed was one and two bedroom flats and houses for first-time buyers, rather than a new supermarket.

The store is due to be built at the former gasworks site in the New Park area of the town but, Coun Simister said this would be the "ideal site" for affordable housing.

He said: “We have plenty of three, four and five bedroom homes either being built or in the planning stage. But what we don’t have is an affordable housing development.

“Many young people are simply priced out of the local housing market, and have to either go into rented accommodation, or move away altogether.

“Tesco needs to decide once and for all what its plans are for New Park. I hope Mr Lewis will take my letter seriously and recognise the town’s urgent need for affordable homes.”

Coun Simister has called on Tesco to dispose of the site to a developer who will deliver the affordable homes, with the option of a smaller Tesco Express.

A Tesco spokesperson confirmed they had received Coun Simister's letter and said the company would respond "in due course".