Can Beverley take one more supermarket? Retail experts to look at Grovehill plans
RETAIL experts are to check out if trade in Beverley would be harmed by another supermarket development.
East Riding Council is making the move after rival bids were lodged by developers for a council site on the edge of the town.
Ten out of 11 bids for council-owned land on the Grovehill industrial estate involve supermarket plans, including proposals for a Sainsbury's store.
It is thought the 12-acre site could be worth in the region of £20 million for the public purse, if it was developed for retail use.
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But such a development is likely to spark concern among town traders, just weeks after the green light was given to expand the retail element of a £120 million regeneration scheme in Flemingate.
The council's cabinet has decided to call in independent retail experts to assess the potential impact on trade if a supermarket was to be developed at the Beck View Road site, on the Grovehill industrial estate.
Councillor Stephen Parnaby, leader of the council, said: "My thought is a retail scheme is not good timing but that is how the bids have come in and that is how we have to examine them.
"The cabinet has said let's hold fire before we make a decision and look at the potential retail impact on the town centre.
"The Flemingate development is now going ahead – do we want another, or do we resist it?"
If the study shows Beverley could not sustain another supermarket, Cllr Parnaby insists the council would not sell the site for that use.
Cllr Parnaby said: "If the retail impact assessment says Beverley could sustain another supermarket, but we say we don't want to sell because we don't think the timing is right, Sainsbury's would immediately go out and look for another site.
"If we are going to get another supermarket, it might as well be on council land rather than further out of town or on a greenfield site.
"If we didn't get the capital receipt for the land and it went somewhere else, that doesn't do the council or the public any good."
At this stage, the council is looking at the issue from a landowner's point of view, not as a planning authority.
Details of the bids have not been revealed but it is understood ten include a super- market development and one is for a small business park.
One of the schemes involves Sainsbury's as the flagship store for a £55 million shopping park.
Cllr Parnaby said changes in national planning guidance could shift the balance towards approval for such developments. He said: "There would be a large number of construction jobs and a number of permanent jobs.
"I'm sure people who are looking for work will be saying 'why don't you let them build it?'"