Letter: Co-op site should be used for retail

Partnership just wanted the site to remain for retail.
Partnership just wanted the site to remain for retail.

Further to previous correspondents’ comments Pocklington and Wolds Gateway Partnership also opposed this planning application on the grounds of change of use. Early indications gave us confidence that this would close out the application on this site.

We did not oppose the development of homes for the elderly should an alternative site be found and nor did we try to save the Co-op.

We just wanted the site to remain for retail.

The reason for this was that the housing allocations, reluctantly agreed during the consultation of the Local Plan, were largely based on an understanding of Pocklington as it currently is and how it currently operates.

The effect of the outcome is to move Market Street from being at the centre of retail offer in the town to being on the edge of retail offer in the town and with inadequate parking to support it.

Meanwhile supermarket retail offer will now be focused on one small area of Pockllngton. And so, as your correspondent correctly states, this makes a nonsense of the Local Plan.

Quite how shoppers from Sherbuttgate, the Yapham Road development and the Mile development will cross town to get to the remaining supermarkets is unclear.

And where they will park when the get there – given the existing heavy use of car parks in the region of Aldi and Sainsbury’s is also unclear.

Expect plenty of off-street parking in the area and shoppers going elsewhere or using online services.

When considering the decision made by the Council’s Western Planning Committee, it is worth noting, as I understand it, that the committee itself was divided and the decision made was on the chairman’s casting vote.

The chairman is a councillor who represents Market Weighton and the Wolds Weighton area.

Given that there is an element of economic competition between Pocklington and Market Weighton he was put in a very difficult position; much like an MP who wanted to remain in the

EU whose constituents voted to leave!

I believe that he should have followed the expressed wishes of the people of Pocklington and the outlying villages and vote against the application. But if he couldn’t bring himself to do that he should have abstained and passed the application back to ERYC to make have it reviewed and a final decision made.

I shall be writing to ERYC myself but would encourage all those who feel strongly enough to do the same.

Grahame Hicks

Chairman, Pocklington and Wolds Gateway Partnership