An Armley councillor says ambitious plans for a new supermarket on stilts to revive Armley Town Street are ‘dead in the water’ – although the developer is still hoping to submit some form of proposal.Outline plans by developer Morbaine for a 90,000 sq ft supermarket at Carr Crofts featured more than 500 car parking spaces, a petrol filling station and shop, three new retail units, new “town square” and off-site highway improvements.
The proposals were approved in principle by Leeds City Council back in 2011, subject to a number of planning conditions being negotiated.
But Cllr Jim McKenna (Labour, Armley) told a recent meeting of Armley Forum that outline planning consent for the supermarket had now lapsed and the development was no longer going ahead in its envisaged form. He blamed a combination of the economic downturn and that complicated land ownership issues on its downfall:
“Supermarkets like Tesco decided to stop building supermarkets due to the downturn.
“And there were difficulties with the site – it’s owned by a lot of different land owners, which proved difficult.
I understand the developer may try to do something with the site, but it won’t be on the same scale. That plan is dead in the water.”
Developer Morbaine admitted it was struggling to develop the site but stressed it continued to review all options. A spokesperson said:
“We still remain keen to develop at Carr Crofts but unfortunately the retail market is not what it was and we are struggling to achieve a viable scheme.
“This area of Leeds needs to be supported and has not been helped by the city council recently giving planning permission to two out-of-town schemes which has taken away what little retail demand there was.
“We have spent a considerable amount of time and money on trying to bring forward a proposal and we continue to review all options.”
Last year the council approved plans for a new Aldi store with 83 parking spaces on the site of the former scrap merchants off Tong Road. Morbaine argued at the time that the development would impact on the viability of their proposals.
The detached house on the Tong Road site has been demolished and the areae has now been cleared ahead of work starting.
As reported by The Dispatch in September, plans to transform a former cinema and clothing factory into seven flats have been submitted. Developer Riyat Associates wants to transform the former Perry Clothes factory building – which occupies part of the site Morbaine wants to develop – into flats.
A date has yet to be set for a decision on whether to approve the proposals.
When the original supermarket plans were passed in 2011, Pudsey councillor Mick Coulson said the proposals were ‘the best thing since sliced bread’ for Armley. He said at the time: “This is badly needed in Armley and especially in this particular area. It’s in the centre of Armley, not a long way from the shops but I know a lot of traders are looking forward to it as they think it will bring extra footfall.”
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