Wakefield Council denies 'unreasonable behaviour' claim in Co-op supermarket row

The derelict South Kirkby Medical Centre, where developers want to build the supermarket.
The derelict South Kirkby Medical Centre, where developers want to build the supermarket.

Wakefield Council has denied it has behaved "unreasonably" in a row with developers over the possible building of a new Co-op store.

Calderwood Developments wants public money to pay for its own legal fees after its plans to build a supermarket in South Kirkby weren't approved.

Whether or not the Co-op store goes ahead will soon be decided by the government.

Whether or not the Co-op store goes ahead will soon be decided by the government.

The Co-op branch was going to be built on the site of a derelict health centre, but councillors had serious safety concerns about where the proposed entrance to the car park was going to be.

At a meeting in July, they asked the applicants to consider moving it before they decided whether or not to give them planning permission, but instead Calderwood has asked the government to decide on the matter.

It then submitted an appeal for its costs to be paid by the council taxpayer, citing "unreasonable behaviour" which had caused them "wasted expense".

It pointed out that council officers had recommended the application be approved, but also claimed, incorrectly, that planning permission had been refused.

Now the local authority has responded, and asked for Calderwood's claim to be dismissed.

In documents attached to the planning application, it says: "Whilst the council accepts that the applicant was frustrated by (the decision) to defer the application, the council believes that this was a reasonable approach as members did not object in principle to the proposed development, but did have concerns regarding the layout and means of access to the site, which they believed were capable of being overcome/mitigated against."

The council goes on to repeat its prior claim that it wanted to meet with the applicants to discuss a way forward after the stalemate at July's meeting, but that Calderwood declined.

The statement added: "In conclusion, the council do not believe they acted unreasonably and respectfully request the applicant's claim for costs be dismissed in full."

In response, Calderwood said the council had failed to address the substance of its claim and that the planning committee had had no "technical evidence" to support their concerns and contradict the advice to approve it.

Local Democracy Reporting Service