Tesco battle hits the road

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CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save a prominent Mirfield pub will take to the streets next week.

They will gather outside the former Black Bull pub on Tuesday evening in opposition to plans for a Tesco Express in the ground floor.

Local businessman Martin Ibberson said: “The thing that irks me is the loss of the Black Bull as a public house and hotel.

“I feel the use of it is something we shouldn’t lose to a convenience store.”

After gathering outside the pub, in Huddersfield Road, at 6.30pm, the group will walk to St Paul’s Church where a public meeting will be held from 7pm.

It follows a packed meeting of Mirfield Town Council’s planning committee and talks between Tesco and community representatives last week.

Mr Ibberson said: “This meeting is about trying to make the public more aware and give them somewhere where they can make their opinion known.

“We’re expecting a very orderly meeting, but one to show the strength of public support to save the Bull and protect what is a very important building at the heart of Mirfield.”

But Tesco will not be sending representatives on Tuesday evening.

Its regional corporate affairs manager, Deborah Hayeems, said: “We have met with community representatives and are looking into a good number of issues that were raised.

“We have already made some changes to the applications in response to this, for example car park layout and parking time allowance.”

Mirfield MP Simon Reevell (Con) has suggested that the company should hold a referendum to measure public support for the store.

Miss Hayeems said the company was looking into the referendum idea.

This week, hoardings sprang up around the Black Bull site.

Miss Hayeems said: “Tesco does not own the building. We are hoping to lease the ground floor only for an Express store which is a convenience store offer, not a big supermarket.

“We understand the owner of the building does have permission to make alterations and that this is the work being carried out.”

The building already has planning permission for an extension and access ramp, and use as a shop.

Tesco submitted eight applications last month, including permission for new signage and a cash machine.

The final date for comments to be made to Kirklees Council planning officers was confirmed this week as Monday August 22.

The applications are expected to go to the Heavy Woollen planning sub-committee in October.

Meanwhile, the plans have sparked a debate on our Mirfield Live page on Facebook.

Michelle Halstead said: “I think its a good idea. All food shops in Mirfield are over priced.”

But Alan Burton said: “Local traders are more important than conglomerates in keeping a town alive.”