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New twist in Shipley supermarket planning saga
The three-sided fight to build a new supermarket in Shipley has taken a dramatic turn as Bradford Council planning officers have backed the proposed development on the Crossley Evans recycling site off Otley Road.
And in a report they recommended refusal for both Morrisons supermarket and housing proposal for Crag Lane and shopfitting firm Cardinal’s plans to redevelop Airedale Mills.
It draws on findings by independent consultant Arups, which concludes that developers GMI’s “Shipley Link” plan for a store and petrol station on the Crossley Evans site would most benefit the town in terms of jobs, regeneration and removing the waste processing site which is considered to be a ‘blight”.
The reports will be presented at a major two-day planning meeting which starts at Shipley Library on Thursday, December 19. The main thrust of the argument is that jobs are a priority and lists the estimates as follows: * Otley Road – 328 to 524 jobs * Crag Road – 290 to 400 jobs * Airedale Mills – 244 to 366 jobs The report states: “This indicates that the Otley Road scheme offers the strongest potential operational economic impact. All three development proposals also offer different potential levels of wider regeneration impact.”
The report then comes down firmly in favour the Otley Road scheme.
And, referring to any pollution which might exist at the Crossley Evans site, it continues: “The redevelopment of the site will be critical in enabling significant long-term regeneration of Shipley, tackling a site that has high abnormal costs due to high contamination.
“The Crag Road scheme (Morrisons) also has the potential to generate a substantial wider regeneration impact but does not remove significant existing blight.”
However, the report also acknowledges that the Crag Road scheme is “effectively pre-let” as it is backed by Morrisons which is committed to building its own store, whereas the other two developers have yet to name retailers.
But GMI’s plan scores more points in terms of its easy reach from Shipley centre and good public transport links.
Crossley Evans boss Matthew Evans strongly criticised the planners’ report.
“We are shocked at the conclusions reached in the report issued by the planning department,” he said.
“The conclusions reached are based on reports that are incorrect in a way that we have already made the planning department aware of.”
Councillor Vanda Greenwood (Lab, Windhill and Wrose) said: “It is important to note that a decision has yet to be made and I shall be speaking in favour of the Morrisons’ project at next week’s meetings at Shipley Library."
Morrisons (Crag Road): Development executive Richard Bakes, speaking on behalf of Morrisons, said: “We are as surprised as we are disappointed with the officers’ recommendations.
“Our scheme really does represent a once in a lifetime opportunity for Shipley, with a £40 million investment bringing hundreds of jobs and substantial regeneration benefits with a variety of uses, outstripping the other schemes by far.
“Moreover, ours is the only deliverable scheme with both developers and operators signed up to a fully detailed application.
“This is set against two competing schemes presented in outline only – meaning there’s no details, no design and absolutely no guarantees that they are remotely deliverable.”
Cardinal (Airedale Mill): James Marshall, of Commercial Development Projects, which is involved in the Cardinal scheme, said: “Naturally we are disappointed. While we respect that national retail planning policy needs to consider specific elements, we would hope that members will see the local and city perspective a lot more holistically.
“The difference in distance from Shipley Town Centre to our site and the Crossley Evans supermarket site is only 85 metres, according to the planning report.
“We strongly hope that the planning committee recognise its role in safeguarding both the Cardinal business and employees and also the Crossley Evans business and employees.
“They have a straightforward decision to make.”
GMI Developments (Otley Road): Chris Gilman, managing director of GMI Developments said: “We are delighted that the planning officers and the Council's independent consultants share our view that our Shipley Link scheme represents the best opportunity for the regeneration and revitalisation of both this part of Shipley and the wider area.
“We have invested an enormous amount of time and resources on this project so far and following next week’s planning meeting, we hope to work closely with the Council in the coming months to deliver a high quality and sustainable scheme that both Shipley residents and GMI can be proud of.”
Site owners DB Schenker said: “DB Schenker has an agreement with Network Rail and GMI Developments to promote a £25 million regeneration project for this gateway site.
“The scheme includes a supermarket, 25,000 sq.ft of new office accommodation and 80 free car parking spaces for the station. Crossley Evans entered into the current lease agreement in 2009. That lease makes specific provision for either party to terminate the lease by giving the other six months’ notice. Crossley Evans was served notice in October, requiring it to leave the site in April next year”.
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