PLANS for new Lidl and Home Bargain stores at a busy retail park look set to clear the next hurdle.

If approved, the proposals on land at Birstall Retail Park would need to be referred to the Secretary of State for a final decision due to their size and out-of-centre location.

The land off Bankwood Way was previously home to office buildings, which were demolished several years ago and now stands empty.

It is bordered by the Showcase Cinema de Lux, as well as a number of eateries and Smyths Toys.

The application by Lidl is for two separate retail units, a 2,231m2 building for a Lidl supermarket and a 2,280m2 building to create a Home Bargains store. Together, the stores are expected to create 75 full time equivalent jobs.

Outline planning permission was previously granted for four retail units on the site, with the Lidl and Home Bargains plans around a third smaller in terms of floor space.

If the planning bid is successful, a section 106 agreement would need to be signed, to include a number of planning obligations.

These include a contribution of £160,000 to off-site highways works, which would fund a new pedestrian light-controlled crossing on Gelderd Road, between the Woodhead Road roundabout and the High Wood Road junction, plus a number of measures to enhance pedestrian connections in the vicinity of the site, such as dropped kerbs and tactile paving.

Other contributions include £38,180 towards biodiversity enhancement and a £10,000 travel plan monitoring fee.

There has been on objection to the scheme raising concerns about the development making traffic in the area worse, and that adding a supermarket to the area will add to air pollution and create litter.

According to a report to the meeting local councillor Elizabeth Smaje has raised "significant concerns" about the traffic situation and wants to see a co-ordinated approach to help alleviate this.

"Councillor Smaje has concerns that the proposed development will add to the existing problems on Gelderd Road and the surrounding area," it said.

Nevertheless, planning officers are recommending the scheme be approved.

A decision is expected at Kirklees Council's strategic planning meeting, which takes place tomorrow (November 18) at 1pm.

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