Concerns raised as Tesco begins site work for new Harrogate supermarket
Last updated Feb 8, 2024
Workers on site at the former gasworks.

Site work has begun on land where a new Tesco supermarket is due to be built in Harrogate.

Planning permission for a store, petrol station and 209-space car park on the former gasworks site was granted 12 months ago. It will create more than 100 jobs.

There have been few updates since but activity has finally begun to clear the former gas works site at the junction of Skipton Road and Ripon Road in the New Park area.

The work has, however, sparked concerns, with Monika Slater, a Liberal Democrat who represents Bilton Grange and New Park on North Yorkshire Council, writing to Tesco on behalf of residents.

The Tesco site alongside Ripon Road.

Cllr Slater said there were concerns about the sensitivities of carrying out work at a former gasworks, as well as the impact on nearby Oak Beck.

Her email to Tesco, seen by the Stray Ferret, said:

“Residents have raised concerns with me about work carried out yesterday to cut down trees in preparation for a roundabout for the new Tesco store on Skipton Road.

“I have spoken with North Yorkshire highways who confirm that Tesco did not have approval to carry out the work and it could have been a danger to the public.  They say they have reminded you to keep the council informed of all work on site in future.

“I am very concerned that in the rush to get all the trees cut down before the nesting season you have put pedestrians and motorists at risk.  This does not bode well for the rest of the build and calls into question whether all safety and environmental guidelines will be followed.”

She continued:

“Former gas works sites are not straightforward places to develop and there will be a lot of trust needed that the work will be carried out carefully and monitored to ensure that the neighbourhood is protected from any contaminates within the ground.”

One local resident, Jennifer Dance, said:

“Residents are concerned about the pollution that will be caused from the development in the local area.”

Ms Dance said local people had been in touch with a campaign group representing residents near former gasworks in Southall, Hornsey and Lea Bridge in London, whose fears about developing on gasworks site were highlighted in a Guardian article.

North Yorkshire Council said:

“Tesco is removing the trees in line with planning permissions. Therefore, there are no breaches of planning control to investigate.

“However, planning officers will continue to monitor the situation as the development progresses.”

The Stray Ferret has approached Tesco for a comment.

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