Controversial plans to build a Sainsbury’s superstore and industrial park in Skipton look set to be thrown out by Craven District Council on Monday.
Developer Henry Boot’s Wyvern Park – on land between Waltonwrays Cemetery and Sandylands Sports Centre – has received a robust recommendation of refusal from planning officers.
But the developers say they are “extremely disappointed” by the officer’s report.
The plan is for a superstore larger than either Morrisons and Tescos, start-up business units, a 7,000 sq metre warehouse and office block, outline plans for a hotel and eating and drinking establishments.
But officers have criticised the poor design and the impact it could have on the town centre.
Monday’s Planning Committee will hear that the council’s retail consultant Martin Tonks has concluded that the scheme should not be supported because of its “significant adverse impact on Skipton town centre”.
Councillors, who will carry out a site visit ahead of the meeting, will further be recommended to refuse permission because of the design of the industrial units and the supermarket itself which are considered to lack “local distinctiveness”.
The size and nature of the development would also have a “severely adverse and detrimental” impact on the tranquillity of the conservation area, including Waltonwrays Cemetery.
And, due to a “lack of structural planting and absence of space” within the layout of the scheme, it would fail to maintain and enhance the landscape.
Skipton Town Council, while welcoming employment opportunities within the scheme, has “significant reservations” about the findings of the retail assessment.
Objections have also been received by 149 individuals, businesses and organisations, including Morrisons and Tesco, Skipton Civic Society, both the Rendezvous and Herriot’s hotels, and a number of sports clubs.
A Henry Boot spokesperson said: “We have worked hard to address the issues raised during the planning process and we are extremely disappointed to see the officer’s recommendation.
“We do not accept that our development will have a significantly adverse impact on the town centre. We are confident that our own retail assessment is correct and have provided a detailed response to the local authority.
“By providing an improved retail offer for Skipton we can help to retain more consumer spending in the town. Currently, almost 30 per cent of expenditure on food and other convenience items is being spent outside the area.
“The foodstore will fund the necessary infrastructure required for the business park as well as provide greater customer choice and competition.
“We remain determined to deliver this development. This site has long been identified as the most appropriate for the new commercial space that Skipton desperately needs.
“Without this expansion of commercial space there is a real risk that existing businesses will in time be forced to leave the area in order to expand. Similarly the opportunity to attract new companies to the town will be seriously hampered. “