New Middleton retail park set for green light

Plans for a £15 million retail park in Middleton have moved a step closer to reality after councillors insisted that the scheme be approved.

Meeting yesterday (20 December 2018) members of the South & West Plans Panel said they wanted to approve the proposals, which would create 140 jobs – despite council planning officers recommending the plans be refused.

A final decision on the proposals was deferred for a second time and will now be brought back to panel early in the New Year, this time with councillors instructing planning officers to come back with reasons to approve the plans.

Officers originally said the new centre – which would include a new B&M, Lidl supermarket, Starbucks and Pets at Home among others – would affect trade at the adjacent Middleton District Centre and would contravene a new council policy which meant the site should also have housing on it.

But councillors disagreed – and the plans now look certain to be given the go ahead early next year.

Hunslet & Riverside councillor Paul Wray (Lab) said planning officers had placed undue weight on the potential impact on the struggling Middleton District Centre. He argued the merits of the application – in terms of jobs, training and skills – were more important than other concerns.

Cllr Julie Heselwood (Lab, Bramley & Stanningley) said:

“I do think it will bring employment to the area. We had a similar development in our ward [Belgrave Retail Park in Stanningley] which has enhanced the offer, not caused problems for the district centre. They have complemented each other. The same could happen here.”

Plans panel chair Cllr Caroline Gruen also hailed the jobs and skills, saying the new centre could act as a magnet, bringing more shoppers to the area, leading to more visits to other shops. She said officers were wrong to put more weight on the impact on the existing centre, rather than the creation of jobs.

Cllr Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley) said the plans should not be approved. He said:

“If you dangle a brand new shopping centre in front of the people of Middleton and compare it the the tired facility next to it, you’ll find many will go for the new one.

“But this will have a major impact on Middleton District Centre. There is no evidence of onward trips. It is not compliant with the council’s policy for this site and it sets a precedent for developers in other parts of the city.”

James Marshall, for the developers CDP, said the proposals had been tweaked following previous feedback at the panel, and shop fronts now included more glazing and brickwork. He said Asda’s concerns over the proposals were to “protect their own commercial position” and insisted the new centre would have “minimal impact” on surrounding trade and would attract more people to the area, including existing nearby shops.

Alan Jones, representing ASDA, told the meeting that there would be “significant” impact on Middleton District Centre. A Middleton resident at the meeting also argued there would be an impact on traffic congestion and noise.

As South Leeds Life has previously reported, B&M’s Chief Executive has already said they would move out of current unit in the District Centre at the end of the current lease in October 2019 as it was no longer fit for purpose.

The Benyon Way site has been the focus of planning issues for many years. Tesco applied to build a store on the site, but were rejected in favour of the Asda store on the next-door site. The plan for a small retail park, anchored by a Lidl store and the relocated B&M store, was first put forward in October 2016 by Marshall CPD.

This first proposal was rejected by planning officers due to concerns about the removal of trees and noise nuisance to local residents. The developer then worked with officers to adapt the plans to meet these concerns. The current planning application was submitted in February this year.

 

This post was written by John Baron

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12 Replies to “New Middleton retail park set for green light”

  1. I think it’s a great idea to have to have a retail park. there we have waited far to long for this to happen it will provide jobs for the unemployed people so. yes let it happen.

  2. Why can’t their redevelope the site already there and upgrade and leave this site for housing bungalow sheltered housing which we are in need of

  3. A new retail park will be brilliant for Middleton, a larger B&M or Home Bargains, a £1 shop, greeting cards keep it to cheap, bargain shops and it will do well as well as providing jobs for local people.

  4. I feel that the new development would enhance the area I live very close to the space and I can’t wait for the new centre to be given the go ahead

  5. Shame on the amateur Councillor members of the Plans Panel (none of whom actually represent the Middleton Park Ward) for ignoring the advice of the Council’s qualified professional planning officers. There is no need for more shops in this area and this new development will, more likely than not, result in the demise of the current Middleton Centre. B&M accounted for a significant proportion of the footfall at the Centre and without it the remaining shops will suffer. So far as extra jobs are concerned all that will happen is that the people employed in the current Centre shops will simply move across the the new onesputting making it even more likely that the current shops will close. Money would have been better spent on improving the existing Centre. The access to the new development will result in significant extra pressure on the roundabout during contruction and after the development has been completed. Traffic already backs up onto the roundabout and on the Ring Road even before it has been built.

    1. I Agree
      The application is also “policy non compliant” by their own rules
      By overriding their own rules, they leave the door open for all developments in Leeds to site this case as a precedent to force their own applications to be approved.
      Middleton does not need more supermarkets and traffic jams.
      Supermarkets are reducing staff by using automated tills and B&M will be a large percentage of the “140 jobs” that really just moved across the road.
      It will be interesting to see if the councillors actually impose a night time ban on unloading trucks to keep the noise levels low enough to meet regulations and allow locals to sleep uninterrupted.

  6. The traffic is already bad around the roundabouts and up Towcester Ave. more buildings and shops will just cause further disruption.

  7. How many more shops do we need ??? The existing shops need our support before opening new ones. There is also an issue with the traffic around ASDA and Middleton shopping centre as is it , without making it any worse. The council need to look at the the surrounding businesses and take them into consideration first. They obviously don’t bacause you only have to look at takeaways , there’s 3 & 4 all together bringing down the area. Elderly housing would be a better option so they can access local shops without having to get a bus and be independent. Middleton centre should have the money spent on it first but we know that won’t happen as that would mean laying money out , they would prefer getting backhanders from businesses for a new centre .

  8. I agree what some have mentioned about traffic at that round about however the round about previous to this would be much better access it would give access at the bottom of Yr planned development and cause least level of disturbance……. Also I think having this as a food retail park would be much better with things like KFC, Mc’donalds, frankie and bennies, pizza hut, and even a family pub sit down meal type place like a harvester or Toby carvery type place will all do very well in this proposed development area and and I think u will also get more backing and will have less inpact on the existing centre.

  9. Hi. Isn’t there goner be a Toby Carvery or any pub eatery on site as there isn’t anywhere close
    For all New Forest village let alone Belle Isle an Middleton to dine out local with a beer garden.

  10. I think it’s a great idea to have a mix of discount shops and other retailers to use the site. As it would be a positive move to support those on low incomes, provide local jobs, more choices to consumers in the area and provides an opportunity for businesses to invest in the local community. Which if rightly managed between new business and the local community could upgrade the status of the area rather than degrade it. The concerns around the traffic congestion has not solely been down to the shops in the area and needs to be addressed by Leeds city council.

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