Co-op's second attempt to build store a 'slap in the face' for South Kirkby, councillor says

An artist's impression of how the proposed store may look.
An artist's impression of how the proposed store may look.

The Co-op has made another move to build a convenience store in South Kirkby, five months after its original controversial plan for the town was blocked.

The organisation is making a second attempt to create a new shop on the site of a derelict medical centre on Barnsley Road, where it says "dozens of new jobs" could be created.

Local councillor Michelle Collins was critical of the Co-op's decision to try again at the site.

Local councillor Michelle Collins was critical of the Co-op's decision to try again at the site.

The government ruled against the Co-op's original proposal last year on the grounds that lorry deliveries would disturb neighbours.

As a result, the supermarket has moved its delivery hub to the opposite end of the site.

However, the proposed customer entrance to the store's car park, which would run onto Barnsley Road itself, remains unchanged from last year's plan.

That's in spite of heavy criticism from local councillors, one of whom described the application as "the worst I've seen in 40 years" from a "health and safety point of view" as a result.

But the government's planning inspector, Elaine Worthington, who threw out the plan, disagreed with the suggestion that the entrance's location was dangerous.

The new application will be available to view on Wakefield Council's planning portal in the coming days, and the Co-op will be running a public consultation event later this month.

Gavin Glidewell, the Co-op's director of operations for the area, said: "We are excited about our new plans for South Kirkby and about being part of the local community.

"The plan will see a vibrant and modern store opening in a convenient area that will provide all customers and members with all of their essentials and also see us invest in the local economy and create jobs for local people.

"We are working hard to ensure that concerns raised by local residents have been investigated and addressed."

But South Elmsall and South Kirkby councillor Michelle Collins said that the Co-op's renewed efforts were a "slap in the face" for residents.

She said that people's concerns about extra traffic on Barnsley Road and the impact of a national chain store on local traders remained.

"I’ve not had a single constituent come to me and say they think this is a good idea," Coun Collins said.

"People are really not happy about it.

"If the Co-op want to be part of the community, they should be looking for somewhere else. Instead it seems they're just going to keep ignoring what people are saying, and do what they want.

"Our local shops, which have been part of the fabric of our community for decades, need to be protected."

A consultation event where residents will be able to view the plans in more detail and offer opinions takes place between 11am and 4pm on Saturday, June 15 at Burntwood Community Centre on Church Mount.

The matter is likely to be decided by Wakefield Council's planning committee at a later date.

Last year, the committee delayed making a final decision about the Co-op's original plan while they waited for concerns about the proposed car park entrance to be addressed.

But the Co-op then appealed to the government, who were given the final say on the matter, after claiming that the council was behaving "unreasonably" about the matter.

An application for taxpayers to foot the developers' legal bill was also rejected in December, along with the original store plan.

Local Democracy Reporting Service