SUPERMARKET giant Tesco is all set to move into Great Harwood after Hyndburn Council’s planning committee gave the controversial planning application the green light.
The plan to build the 4,900 square metre superstore in Queen Street caused uproar last year with residents and traders hitting out at the proposals, claiming it will be the end for independent traders in the town.
However, on Wednesday, the majority of the planning committee agreed the plans should be delegated to the chief planning and transportation officer for approval, subject to a long list of legal conditions.
Brent Clarkson, council development control manager, said that retail advisers were commissioned to provide an independent view on the situation.
More than 30 residents attended the meeting but were unusually quiet throughout the discussion compared with previous heated debates.
Petitions with 657 signatures were submitted, 31 individual letters of objection and 376 duplicated signed letters were sent to the council, along with 24 letters of support.
The proposal by Hunterswalk Ltd and Tesco Stores Ltd, has been slightly amended to include contributions of:
l £25,000 towards pedestrian footway and lighting improvements along Queen Street between the site and the town centre.
l £65,000 towards environmental improvements.
l £170,000 towards the upgrade of the bus stop facilities.
The site is currently occupied by rubber mouldings company Metflex which is to be relocated to Alan Ramsbottom Way.
Councillor Nick Collingridge, who is not a member of the committee, said the increase in traffic would have a negative effect on lots of people.
He added: "Great Harwood will die if you allow this application to be granted.
"If this goes ahead you will have to build a new job centre and have an ample supply of smog masks for the residents of Whalley Road."
Maria Whitehead, the wife of Paul Whitehead of Whitehead’s supermarket, also spoke at the meeting and said: "The impact of the store will be devastating and have an irreversible effect on Great Harwood.
"I urge councillors to be as courageous as other councillors across the country and refuse the application."
Chairman of the committee Councillor John Griffiths said that he understood the decision was a difficult one with objectors putting forward some persuasive arguments.
He added: "I have thought long and hard about this."
Councillors Lynn Wilson, Bernard Dawson and Clare Pritchard all voted against the proposal.