The tussle between Aldi and Tesco for the chance to open in Silsden takes a step forward today when councillors may defer deciding on an application from Aldi.
Bradford Council’s regulatory and appeals committee is due to decide whether Aldi can build a food store on land at Habbeger House, Keighley Road. Officers have recommended approval.
Tesco has now submitted its own application for a supermarket and petrol station directly opposite the proposed Aldi and Silsden district councillor Andrew Mallinson has discovered Tesco is in talks with Bradford Council over buying a 15ft strip of land that stands between its hoped-for site and any hope of permission.
“Bradford Council owns what’s often called a ‘ransom strip’ – a piece of land about 15ft wide which runs parallel to Keighley Road along the frontage of Tesco’s possible site,” Coun Mallinson said.
“Tesco would need to buy that land to get access to its site – and Bradford Council could stand to make a lot of money from that.
“I believe conversations are taking place between the council’s assets people and Tesco. My understanding is they are close to a formal legal agreement.”
Tesco has previously asked the council to delay decision-making on the Aldi store and consider it in tandem with its own development, precise details of which are still being prepared.
“I’ve been a councillor for 14 years and I’ve never come across a two-sided situation like this – personally I think they could go with both,” Coun Mallinson said.
But he suggested there might be problems with that solution due to another twist in the tale. “There has been planning permission for 120 homes off Sykes Lane and if Tesco went ahead that could provide a gateway road on to that site,” Coun Mallinson said.
“So the Tesco plan would unlock the land behind it, plus give an additional chunk of money to the council from the sale of that ransom strip.
“However that would add residential traffic coming out on to Keighley Road opposite where the Aldi would be if both schemes were to happen.
“My feeling is that Thursday’s decision will be postponed and Aldi and Tesco will then have to go head-to-head. Personally, I am for whatever benefits Silsden the most.
“It’s good there is such enthusiasm to come to Silsden – just so long as we get the right solution with the best ideas.”
Asked about talks with Tesco over its proposed Silsden venture, Belinda Gaynor, Bradford Council operation estate manager, said: “Bradford Council is discussing the possible sale of a strip of land that could form an access to a new supermarket and open up a residential development area.”