Full steam ahead for Tesco store

ALL CHANGE: The Black Bull in Huddersfield Road, which is due to open as a Tesco Express on January 20. (d04011252)
ALL CHANGE: The Black Bull in Huddersfield Road, which is due to open as a Tesco Express on January 20. (d04011252)

THE former Black Bull pub is to open as a Tesco Express in two weeks.

The supermarket chain is on track to open its new Mirfield store on January 20.

Despite widespread opposition to its use of the historic building, the firm said the store would boost trade in the town.

But signs outside the Huddersfield Road building promoting the opening have been sprayed with red paint.

Mirfield Action Group chairman Martin Ibberson said: “I don’t see why it’s going to attract people to Mirfield. For years you’ve been able to buy bread, eggs and milk here. Now you’ll be able to buy it from yet another place.”

The Mayor of Mirfield, Coun Pat Sutcliffe, said: “They’ve put further posters up announcing they’re selling bread, sandwiches, fruit and veg. All the small stores nearby sell just those things. Obviously there’s been an angry reaction.”

Tesco won planning permission for various works and signage last month, but had applications for a cash machine and illuminated signs on the front of the building refused.

Instead, it will repaint the existing Black Bull pub sign to bear the company’s name. The firm has also submitted a new planning application to install nine lights in the car park.

Coun Sutcliffe said: “We knew that we couldn’t stop them, but we did get what we wanted. If you go back to their initial plans the whole of the front of that building was going to be changed. Even with the sign gone, the building will remain the Black Bull now.”

Tesco’s Matthew Magee said the signs would be painted to the same proportions and there were no plans to re-apply for a cash machine.

The company will also start work next week on stone cladding around a contentious brick ramp built by the building’s owner.

A junior planning officer had allowed a change of material from stone to brick, angering those against changes to the building. Mr Magee said Tesco was funding the change back to stone quarried in West Yorkshire as a gesture of goodwill.

“We want to fit in with the heritage and architecture of the Black Bull,” he said. “We’ve created some really great Express stores in heritage pubs in recent years and we think this new store will be up there with the best. It’ll also help get more people shopping in Mirfield which is good for everyone.”