A tussle between Aldi and Tesco for the chance to open in Silsden takes a step forward on Thursday when councillors may defer deciding on an application from the massive German retail group.
Bradford Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee is due to decide whether Aldi can build a store on land at Habbeger House, Keighley Road, and officers have recommended approval.
But Tesco has now submitted its own application for a supermarket and petrol station opposite the proposed Aldi development.
And Silsden Councillor Andrew Mallinson has discovered that Tesco are in talks with Bradford Council over buying a 15ft strip of land that stands between their hoped-for site and any hope of permission.
“Bradford Coun-cil owns what’s often called a ‘ransom strip’ – a piece of land about 15ft wide which runs parallel to Keighley Road along the frontage of Tesco’s possible site.
“Tesco would need to buy that piece of land to get access to their site – and Bradford Council could stand to make a lot of money from that,” Coun Mallinson said. “I believe conversations are taking place between the Council’s assets people and Tesco. And my understanding is they are close to a formal legal agreement.”
Tesco has asked the Council to delay decision-making on the Aldi store and consider it in tandem with its own development, precise details of which are still being prepared.
“I’ve been a councillor for 14 years and I’ve never come across a two-sided situation like this – personally I think they could go with both,” Coun Mallinson said. But he suggested there might be problems with that solution due to another twist in the tale.
“There is existing planning permission for some 120 homes on a site off Sykes Lane and if Tesco went ahead that could provide a gateway road onto that development site,” Coun Mallinson said. “So the Tesco plan would unlock the land behind it, plus give an additional chunk of money to the council from the sale of that ransom strip. However that would add residential traffic coming out onto Keighley Road opposite where the Aldi would be if both schemes were to happen.
Belinda Gaynor, Bradford Council operation estate manager, said: “Bradford Council is discussing the possible sale of a strip of land that could form an access to a new supermarket and open up a residential development area.”