Ripon megastore plans approved

A computer generated image showing how the new Morrions might look. (S)
A computer generated image showing how the new Morrions might look. (S)

Morrisons has been given the go-ahead by planners to develop a new megastore supermarket, hotel, DIY centre and business units in Ripon after a two-year wait.

The application for the scheme on the southern edge of the city was submitted in 2011 but has languished in the planning process ever since.

Speaking after the decision was made this week, a spokesperson for Morrisons said: “We are delighted the consent has now been issued. This is great news for Ripon.”

The application had been submitted to Harrogate Borough Council in June 2011 with the development including plans for a new 37,000 sq ft Morrisons megastore, 60-bed hotel, DIY home and garden centre, plus industrial and office units.

Ripon City Council gave the application the thumbs down when it was consulted on the proposals in 2011 but in May 2012, Harrogate Borough Council’s planning committee voted unanimously in favour of the project.

The committee hoped the development would bring more tourists to Ripon and stop shoppers abandoning the city for the Tesco megastore approved for Harrogate.

Final approval could not be given until the Section 106 part of the planning application – concerned with ensuring the new development is sustainable before building work begins – was signed off by the planners.

It is not known when work on the development will begin but Morrisons has previously said it expects it will create 660 new jobs and 150 construction jobs as well as protecting 220 existing jobs at the site.

The plans will see the existing supermarket converted into a DIY and home/garden store with a new roundabout from the bypass and alterations to road access to the site .

The planning consent has been welcomed by David Elsy, the chairman of Ripon and District Chamber of Trade.

He said: “The sooner the development gets under way the better. I’m delighted because along with the store we hope to get a hotel and improvements around Greystone School.

“It also has the potential to open up the land for development for industrial and commercial purposes. We are desperate in Ripon for commercial land for businesses to set up – we have a queue of businesses wanting to come to the city.”

During the application process, residents of neighbouring Edens Way expressed concerns the development might encourage vandalism and anti-social behaviour near their homes with the upgrade of an existing bridlepath to provide foot and cycle access to the expanded site. They also voiced worries the site may not have enough parking space to accommdate all the employees at the various businesses, with cars spilling over onto surrounding streets.