Beeston ‘store wars’: Tesco Strikes Back – updated

The ‘store wars’ saga between Asda and Tesco is hotting up. Both supermarket giants are bidding to build stores in the Old Lane area of Beeston. Due to planning laws it’s understood only one of the stores would be allowed to be built.

Yesterday South Leeds Life reported how pupils at Hugh Gaitskell Primary School in Beeston have been getting green-fingered with the help of Asda.  Today Tesco have been in touch with the following information:

A group of local residents have shown their support for Tesco’s proposals for Beeston in a Tesco newsletter sent to 5,000 local homes.

The group have outlined their support for a convenient Tesco supermarket to serve the weekly food shop, 140 jobs for local people, and the regeneration of a derelict site in the heart of Beeston.

Speaking about Tesco’s plans, Yvonne Crowther from the Cardinal Youth Centre, said:

“I work with a lot of young people in Beeston who struggle to find job opportunities. Tesco would create 140 jobs which would be a massive boost to our community.

“The new Tesco supermarket would improve the area and would hopefully lead to other organisations looking at Beeston as a place to come and invest in.”

Beeston resident Paul Howard added:

“I think at this time of high unemployment the new Tesco store will bring much-needed jobs to the Beeston area. It will also replace an eyesore from Old Lane with a store that will be landscaped in good taste.”

Margaret Holmes, who lives near to the site, said:

“As residents in Beeston, we’re supporting Tesco because we want a decent supermarket that we can walk to.

“That site has been an eyesore for years, and Tesco wants to invest in our area, creating jobs and improving our part of Leeds. We don’t want Beeston to miss out on this opportunity – so we’re saying ‘Yes to Tesco’.”

Tesco submitted its planning application in September 2010 and has consulted extensively with the local Beeston community.

Over 200 local residents have so far submitted letters of support to Leeds City Council, with a decision on the plans now expected in the next couple of months.

If approved, Tesco’s proposals would create 140 new jobs.

Following meetings with the Beeston Community Forum   and local ward councillors, Tesco has committed to targeting its recruitment within the Beeston area by working with the local JobCentre Plus in an employment partnership.

This would see jobs advertised to residents in the LS10 and LS11 postcodes first. The new supermarket would provide residents in Beeston with a convenient store for the weekly food shop which residents will be able to walk to.

The site was home to Moorhouses jam factory for 50 years up until the 1970s, although it has now stood derelict for over 10 years. The proposed Tesco store would be one of the most sustainable supermarkets of its type in the area.

The plans also include a signature pedestrian entrance and clock tower using traditional building materials amongst the trees on Old Lane, which would be unique to the Beeston store.

South Leeds Life is taking a neutral stance over the two applications but will continue to bring you the latest from both camps as the battle to win the hearts and minds of local residents hots up.

Updated Friday 11 May 1.28pm: To clarify Beeston Forum’s position on the two applications, according to the forum’s website, the group withdrew its objection to the planning application by Tesco Stores Limited for a store on Old Lane after certain conditions were met. On the Asda application, the Forum meeting on 5th January 2012 hosted representatives of Asda and voted to seek a number of written assurances from Asda similar to those given by Tesco in relation to its planning application and that the forum’s holding objection will remain in place unless and until these assurances are given.