Silsden supermarket bid before planners

Councillor Andrew Mallinson

Councillor Andrew Mallinson

First published in News

The tussle between Aldi and Tesco for the chance to open in Silsden could take a step forward today when councillors could defer deciding on an application from the massive German retail group.

Bradford Council’s regulatory and appeals committee is due to decide on whether Aldi can build a food store on land at Habegger House in Keighley Road. Officers have recommended approval.

But Tesco has now submitted its own application for a supermarket and petrol station directly opposite the proposed Aldi development.

And Silsden district councillor Andrew Mallinson has discovered Tesco is in talks with Bradford Council about buying a 15ft strip of land that stands between its planned 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.

“Tesco would need to buy that piece of land to get access to its site, and Bradford Council could stand to make a lot of money from that,” Coun Mallinson said. “I believe conversations are taking place between the council’s assets people and Tesco.

“And 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 added.

But he suggested there might be problems with that solution due to another twist in the tale.

“There has been planning permission for some 120 homes on a site off Sykes Lane, and if Tesco went ahead, that could provide a gateway road onto that development site.”

“So the Tesco plan would unlock the land behind it, plus give an additional chunk of money to the council from the sale of the ransom strip.

“However, that would add residential traffic coming out onto Keighley Road opposite where the Aldi would be if both schemes were to happen.”

Coun Mallinson added: “My feeling is that today’s decision will be postponed, and Aldi and Tesco will then have to go head-to-head. I am for whatever benefits Silsden the most.

“And 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 regarding its proposed Silsden venture, Belinda Gaynor, Bradford Council’s 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.”

Tesco was unavailable for comment.

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