Supermarket plan could create 532 jobs

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PLANS for a major supermarket and park-and-ride have been given the go-ahead – despite a bid by Tesco to block the scheme.

Doncaster Council’s planning committee has approved the plans which are expected to create hundreds of jobs, at Woodfield Way, Balby, although they still need to get the nod from the Highways Agency over access before work can start.

Tesco had tried to block the scheme, sending a planning consultant to raise concerns over the supermarket being placed out of town rather than at a suitable site in the town centre. The chain already has a store at Woodfield Plantation in Balby.

Mark Stitch, speaking for developer Catesby Property Group, said the supermarket would mean 352 new jobs, with another 180 expected to be created at a separate office block nearby, also included in the same plans.

He added the creation of the park-and-ride to the south of the town centre would help reduce traffic congestion in the town centre, and was something that had been previously included in official plans for the borough. The park-and-ride will have spaces for 255 cars.

He said: “Overall this will create 532 permanent jobs.

“The proposal if it is fully accepted will increase the size of Doncaster’s economy by £10.3 million a year.

“It is important to have competition and choice. It is a development in a key location and it is providing key infrastructure and transport benefits for Doncaster.”

But Nigel Cussen, representing the supermarket chain, said the plans did not fit in with Government guidelines intended to focus shop developments into existing retail centres and warned it would mean more cars going to the shops.

He said: “This shop could sell any range of goods to compete directly with the town centre. There are no restrictions on what could be sold.”

Plans to build houses near the Woodfield Plantation development, at Carr Lodge have yet be given planning approval.

Coun Andrew Bosmans asked Mr Cussen: “Would you not accept that, given the development proposal at Woodfield, if there wasn’t another store in direct competition to Tesco, Tesco at Woodfield Plantation would gain a lot of customers?”

Mr Cussen said stores would benefit from housing in the area.

A council report said the new store would potentially divert £12.7m in turnover from the Tesco at Woodfield Way and £15.4m from the Asda at Bawtry Road. But it added both stores were currently overtrading, Tesco by £16.9m a year and Asda by £22.4m per year, based on published company figures.

The park-and-ride next to the supermarket would be served by two buses every 15 minutes, with a subsidy from the developer for the first five years. Buses would run for 12 hours a day, six days a week.

No operator for the supermarket has been named.