Crystal Peaks owners line up against Tesco

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THE owners of Crystal Peaks have lodged an objection to a proposed Tesco superstore in the area.

They say a development off Oxclose Park Road at Halfway would hit trade at the Sainsbury’s at Crystal Peaks and generally reduce the numbers of visitors to the shopping centre, affecting other shops. Councillors are also under pressure from Morrisons, which already has a store at Oxclose, to reject the application.

As Asda submits its outline plans for a superstore off Waterthorpe Greenway, a decision on Tesco’s ambitions for the south east of Sheffield is expected in the next few weeks.

Tesco says it will bring a “significant investment” in the Halfway area, widening customer choice and generating 450 jobs.

But Crystal Peaks owners Hermes Real Estate are telling the council that the superstore would be breach planning guidelines designed to protect established district centres, diverting business to “an unsustainable out-of-centre location”.

Their consultants, Turley Associates, say “significant” trade would be derived from the Sainsbury’s, which is an anchor for Crystal Peaks. “A reduction in trade for Sainsbury’s will have a detrimental knock-on effect on the remainder of the centre through reduced footfall and loss of linked trips.”

Retail figures to support Tesco’s application are being questioned. More customers would be drawn from the Crystal Peaks Sainbury’s and fewer from the Asda at Handsworth and the Morrisons at Catcliffe, it is argued.

Morrisons at Oxclose are also objecting. “By reason of its out-of-centre location, it is likely that the proposed development will not only draw trade away from the adjacent Morrisons but will also draw trade away from established centres to the detriment of their vitality and viability,” say they consultants, Peacock and Smith.

The land should be used for housing in line with revised policy guidelines, they add.

More opposition comes from Derbyshire County Council. Local residents already have the Morrisons and Sainsbury’s, it says. “In terms of retail impact, the proposed store would divert significant amounts of trade from Eckington and Killamarsh town centres in Derbyshire.”

Many local people are pressing Sheffield councillors to resist Tesco. A Mosborough resident says there are already enough supermarkets in the area and warns of the threat to smaller shops.

Traffic concerns are also being raised. “The traffic is bad enough between Peaks and Morrisons and this will make things even worse,” says another resident.

But Tesco has some support. A resident of Oxclose Park View says a superstore would be better than seeing the land used for industry or housing. “The benefits of convenience, competition and employment are great.”

A householder in Broadlands Avenue, Owlthorpe, welcomes the prospect of 450 jobs and adds: “I feel the new store would offer the people of the surrounding area more choice and the competition that would result would be very beneficial to us.”

Council officers are finalising a report for councillors that will assess all the implications, including the impact on surrounding shops, the roads and the environment.

They will take the same approach to assessing the Asda application, judging each on its merits.

Most of the supermarket groups are trying to consolidate their grip on different parts of Sheffield but some observers believe there is not the capacity in the south east of the city for two more superstores.