Plans are to be submitted for a £20 million retail scheme which developers say will create up to 450 jobs in Shipley and transform access to the town centre.
If approved, a supermarket will be built on the eight-acre site currently occupied by scrap dealers Crossley Evans, which has operated in the town since just after the First World War.
The plans, drawn up by Leeds-based GMI Holdings Limited, include an 80,000 sq ft food superstore, petrol station and 364 covered parking spaces on the prominent site, which lies between Otley Road and the railway line.
But Crossley Evans, the current tenant of the site, today raised strong concerns about the proposals and pointed out that there had been no detailed discussions with the developers about the plans.
The site is jointly owned by Network Rail and DB Schenker Rail.
Crossley Evans boss Matthew Evans fears the supermarket scheme could cost jobs at his business if the development gets the go-ahead.
Mr Evans said 99 per cent of materials recycled for businesses and local authorities was transported by rail to the scrapyard’s own railhead near Shipley station. It would be difficult to find and develop an alternative site and Crossley Evans would risk losing contracts and having to cut staff. More than 30 people are employed at the Shipley site, with three at its Halifax operation.
Mr Evans said: “We have no desire to move. It would be very difficult to find a site to suit our needs and the environmental impact of losing the rail link and moving materials by road would be negative.
“It would not be easy to up sticks and relocate, given the amount of material and equipment we have here.
“GMI has obviously seen the potential of this site but there have been no formal discussions or detailed communications about their ideas.”
GMI Holdings is preparing to submit its planning application to Bradford Council next month. It will hold a public consultation event on Friday, February 15, at Shipley Library, Well Croft, between 2pm and 7pm.
It said the idea was to regenerate the ‘southern gateway’ to Shipley, improve pedestrian links between the railway station and the town centre to encourage more shoppers, and create opportunities for existing businesses.
GMI Holdings said the development could create up to 350 new jobs when the store opened. It described the plans as “crucial” to the Council’s plans to regenerate that part of Shipley.
The plan is the second major supermarket scheme being proposed for Shipley. It follows a planning application for redevelopment of the Salts Mill Road site of shopfitting firm Cardinal, which is looking to move.
Chris Gilman, managing director of GMI Holdings, said: “It is widely recognised that Shipley town centre is in need of an additional food store, a fact confirmed by Bradford Council’s own research. The scrapyard site is presently the first impression people gain when arriving in Shipley by train or car from the south; it has a huge amount of untapped potential to act as a catalyst for the regeneration of this part of the town.”
In 1994 GMI Holdings built the Waterside building at Saltaire which became the headquarters of electronics group Filtronic. GMI bought the building back for £6 million in 2007 after Filtronic downsized.