Waitrose objects to plans for new Tesco in Harrogate
Last updated Mar 2, 2022
An artist's impression of how the Tesco will look on Skipton Road.

Waitrose has submitted an objection to Tesco‘s bid to build a new supermarket on Skipton Road in Harrogate.

The objection, which was submitted last week by planning consultants First Plan on behalf of the retailer, says the new store would have a “significant adverse impact” on both Waitrose on Station Parade and Asda on Bower Road.

It also claims other retailers could be affected and questions shopping data provided by Tesco to support its application.

Tesco submitted plans to Harrogate Borough Council to build the new store in December.

It would be 38,795 square feet and include a petrol filling station, 200 car parking spaces, electric vehicle charging points and 24 cycle spaces. A new mini-roundabout would also be built on Skipton Road.

Tesco says 100 jobs would be created.

Assessment ‘lacks detail’

Waitrose’s objection says a retail assessment by Tesco in December to support its application “lacks detail”.

It says the assessment does not provide enough evidence to support the claim that a new Tesco supermarket would not harm retailers in the town centre.

Tesco has argued that the Bilton, Jennyfields and New Park areas of Harrogate are poorly served by major supermarkets.

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Its assessment, written by town planning consultants Martin Robeson Planning Practice, said Tesco will “add to local consumer choice” but will not cause “any significant adverse impact on existing shopping centres”.

The document adds:

“The northern part of Harrogate, particularly the extensive Bilton community, has very limited provision for food shopping.”

Change in shopping habits

However, Waitrose says the data around shopping habits in Harrogate used to underpin Tesco’s conclusions does not give an up-to-date picture.

Tesco’s retail assessment makes several references to the 2014 Harrogate Retail Study, which was undertaken by Harrogate Borough Council to identify trends in shopping habits.

It also says an increase in online shopping, which has been accelerated by the pandemic, has reduced the amount of spending in ‘bricks and mortar’ stores.

The six-page objection letter concludes:

“The cumulative impact of the proposed Tesco store and other recent permissions on town centre foodstores unquestionably represents a ‘significant adverse’ level of impact on the anchor Waitrose and Asda foodstores, with associated implications for the wider vitality and viability of Harrogate town centre, which has already been impacted by a number of high-profile closures in recent years and this should, in our view, constitute a reason for refusal of the application.”

A Tesco spokesperson said:

“We will consider all feedback received on our application and will have further discussions with Harrogate Council about the issues raised.”

Harrogate Borough Council will make a decision on the plans at a later date.