York & North Yorkshire

Harrogate business leaders' concern over Tesco store

Former gas works in Harrogate
Image caption Chamber members said they did not believe it was safe to create a new access road across the site

Plans for a Tesco store on a former gas works in Harrogate will lead to "traffic gridlock" in the area, business leaders have warned.

Tesco wants to build a superstore on the site at New Park.

Local chamber of commerce members have also spoken of concerns about safety risks from high pressure gas mains on the site.

Tesco said it worked in compliance with health and safety rules and its plan included congestion-easing measures.

Harrogate Borough Council will make a decision on Tesco's planning application later this year.

In a letter to Tesco signed by more than 50 members, the chamber of commerce said the plans would cause an "unacceptable level of congestion and delay on both the A59 and the A61" and lead to a "state of gridlock" at peak hours.

Plans 'supported'

They also said members were "not satisfied that it is safe to create a new access road across the existing gas works site".

The letter says the site has a large number of high pressure gas mains close to the proposed entrance and "any leak of gas resulting from vehicle impact could be extremely dangerous, particularly with a large gas storage tank nearby".

The chamber stressed they were not opposed to the new store on commercial grounds, as they believed it would attract customers to Harrogate from outlying areas.

Matt Magee, Tesco's regional corporate affairs manager, said the store would cut traffic through Harrogate as people from the north of the town would no longer have to travel through town to access a supermarket.

When asked about the chamber's gas safety concerns he said the Health and Safety Executive was "fully aware" of the plans and had no objection to them.

He said: "Obviously this is something we looked into and take very seriously."

He said 70% of local people consulted by Tesco had supported the plans.

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