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WATCH: Tesco scraps Harrogate superstore plans

WATCH: Tesco scraps Harrogate superstore plans

Published at 10:49am 19th October 2016. (Updated at 3:15pm 19th October 2016)

Tesco has shelved plans for a new superstore in Harrogate.

Despite fierce opposition, the supermarket giant secured planning permission on the former gas works site at New Park in 2011.

Last year, Tesco insisted that the proposals remained on track, despite recording some of the biggest ever annual losses for a British company and scrapping nearly 50 other building projects.

However, the firm now says "challenging" market conditions in the retail sector mean that it has to carefully consider the investments it makes.

Matt Davies, Tesco CEO UK & ROI, said: "Following a detailed review, we have taken the very difficult decision not to proceed with our planned Harrogate superstore. This decision was not taken lightly and we realise that many people locally will be disappointed.

"We are grateful for the support that has been shown for our plans over the years and our priority now will be to ensure the site is sold so that it can play a positive part in Harrogate’s future development."

The Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the decision.

Transport Spokesman and former Chief Executive Brian Dunsby said "it's good news".

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County Councillor David Simister, who wrote to Tesco Chief Executive Dave Lewis urging him to pull the plug on the New Park project, said he was "delighted" by the announcement.

He added: "This is wonderful news, and I my hope is that a housing development solely for first-time buyers can be created here. This is what Harrogate is crying out for and this is the ideal location.”

Tesco Harrogate site

The former gas works site at New Park which was earmarked for Harrogate's new Tesco superstore

Harrogate Borough Council is "disappointed" that Tesco will not be pressing ahead with its plans, but has welcomed the clarity that the decision has brought to the situation.

Councillor Graham Swift, Cabinet Member for Tourism, Economic Development and Enterprise, added: "The development would have created new jobs and brought significant investment to the town, and the council remains supportive of development opportunities on the site that achieves that ambition. We must now look to the future and consider how the land can be used for the benefit of the community.

"The site has remained empty for too long and needs to be developed as a matter of priority. Tesco are still the landowners, and we are currently seeking clarification about their disposal plans.

"Whilst we would be keen for Tesco to dispose of the site as soon as possible, it is imperative that any proposed future use is right for Harrogate. It is our intention to work closely with Tesco to ensure that we can influence their plans for the disposal of the site and find a solution which is in the best interest of residents, businesses and the town."