Public voices concerns over Morrisons expansion plans

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MORRISONS plans for a multi-million pound retail development on the southern edge of Ripon have been given the thumbs down by city councillors.

Ripon City Council met to discuss the supermarket giant’s plans to expand its site on Harrogate Road, on Monday, when they voted unanimously to recommend to Harrogate Borough Council that the application be refused.

The plans involve Morrisons moving to a newly-built supermarket, a DIY home store and garden centre opening at the existing supermarket building, plus the construction of a 60-bed hotel, light industrial units, and offices.

The council meeting was attended by 25 members of the public, with all those who spoke voicing concerns about the development.

Jeremy Banyard, assistant manager at Benson’s hardware store and a former councillor, said: “If a DIY store comes to Ripon there are upwards of 27 businesses in a five- to six-mile radius that might be affected.

“Some of those businesses will go under – that’s guaranteed. Can we afford to lose any of those 27 businesses? On Boroughbridge Road alone, there are six businesses that would be affected by a DIY store.”

Mr Banyard called for councillors to turn down the application, which was met by rapturous applause from those in attendance.

Donald Mack, of Littlethorpe, said: “It seems the Morrisons’ proposals are in favour of Morrisons – not Ripon. Ripon is already well-supplied and this development will not bring shoppers into Ripon but a centre about a mile out of Ripon.

“(If the plans go ahead), the centre will be ‘pulled-out’ and we will get a centre comprising charity shops, hairdressers and book shops.”

As well as the economic concerns for Ripon, others were concerned the new development might encourage vandalism and anti-social behaviour near their homes with plans to upgrade an existing bridlepath by laying down an asphalt surface and installing lighting.

Keith Rogers, of Edens Way, said: “Everyone along there is worried about this and whether there will be an increase in vandalism.”

He also questioned whether there was sufficient car parking space for the 800-plus people who could be employed at the various businesses on the expanded site.

“There aren’t enough car parking spaces for 800 employees,” he said.

“What will happen is the workers will park in surrounding streets and so parking permits will have to be introduced for householders.”

And Marjorie Sanderson, of Gallows Hill, was worried that the access routes laid out for lorries would generate unwanted noise because HGVs would be forced to drive around the site.

“Isn’t there a more direct route rather than it going all the way around the site?” she asked.

Harrogate Borough Council is expected to make a decision on the application by August 17.