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Skipton retail park plan leads to fears for town centre
9:00am Thursday 9th January 2014 in News
Serious concerns about a planned industrial and retail development have been raised by Skipton town councillors.
The Wyvern Park scheme, recently submitted to Craven District Council by Henry Boot Developments, includes industrial units, a Sainsbury’s superstore, and hotel and pub on land between Waltonwrays Cemetery and Sandylands sports centre.
But town councillors – although welcoming the industrial units – have strongly criticised aspects of the development, including its impact on Waltonwrays and issues with traffic.
They have also criticised the retail assessment survey accompanying the application, claiming it uses out of date data and leaves out Keelham Farm Shop – due to open later this year.
The council’s plans and environment committee also heard initial representation from Skipton Civic Society over the impact on the cemetery. It fears flooding and traffic issues.
Joint society chairman Dean Holdawa, said they were so worried, the society had contacted English Heritage with a view to having the cemetery recognised as a heritage site at risk.
Councillor Bernard Clarke said he was very familiar with the site and how it flooded. He added: “My biggest concern is the impact on the cemetery, while building work is taking place and afterwards with all the litter and noise.”
He was also raised the issue of Carleton New Road and its use by delivery drivers relying on Satnavs rather than a new proposed access off the bypass.
And Coun Chris Harbron questioned the need for another supermarket and said the development would effectively create another entrance to the town.
“This retail is going to affect the town and this should be our main focus,” he said.
“This will create a new approach road and the first thing that people will see is a supermarket, it will be welcome to Sainsbury's and not welcome to Skipton.”
Coun John Kerwin-Davey said he was opposed to large multi-national companies taking investment out of the town.
“This would be another multi-national milking reserves out of the local economy,” he said.
In its submission to Craven District Council, which has just come to an end of a month-long consultation period on the plan, the council “broadly” welcomed proposals to strengthen employment opportunities.
However, its welcome is tempered by the retail aspect which the council fears may have an “unacceptable impact on the vitality of the town centre”.
It also raises concerns about the road infrastructure leading to the proposed site being able to cope with a substantial increase in traffic and footfall.
“The council believes any potential impact on the town centre resulting from this proposed development needs to be assessed in detail and extremely carefully. We would urge the planning authority to pay particular attention to this aspect of the application, commissioning its own data if necessary.”
It adds: “Unless any elements of doubt relating to the potential impact on the town centre can be comprehensively addressed, the town council cannot support the application.”
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