Tesco triggers uprising in land of summer wine

Residents rally to protect small shops in Yorkshire home of vintage TV comedy

Holmfirth is witnessing its biggest battle since Compo wooed Nora Barry. Residents are campaigning against a planned Tesco superstore which they say would ruin the historic setting for the long-running TV series Last of the Summer Wine.

Tesco submitted plans to Kirklees Council for a 5,800sqm store on a disused garage on the edge of the market town in West Yorkshire which borders the Peak District National Park.

Campaigners say the out-of-town development would destroy Holmfirth's small retailers, which include three bakers, a butcher and a greengrocer, and turn it into a ghost town dominated by charity shops.

Several hundred protesters are expected to attend a meeting at Holy Trinity Church on Wednesday, backed by the local MP Kali Mountford and English Heritage, which this week placed Holmfirth on its Heritage at Risk register. It called on councillors to consider the store's impact on the town, many of whose stone buildings date from its role as a centre for textiles during the industrial revolution.

Tesco has held a two-day exhibition to put its case. It says most residents are in favour of the store, which would be designed to blend into the surroundings. It would also create 360 jobs.

Thousands of tourists visit Holmfirth every year, partly because of its association with Last of the Summer Wine, the ambling drama about three middle-aged men Compo, Clegg and Blamire, and the doughty housewife Nora Batty. The show, on air since 1973, features Holmfirth buildings such as Sid's Café and Nora Batty's house.

After hearing of Tesco's plans last year, residents formed the action group Holmfirth Against Tesco, later re-named Keep Holmfirth Special.

Caroline Anstey, the owner of Imagine toy shop, said Tesco would swamp the town's retailers. "I'm not opposed to having a Tesco in Holmfirth. What I'm opposed to is an out-of-town development. What we have seen in other market towns is that as soon as you build a store out-of-town it sucks the life out of the centre. We get thousands of people coming to Holmfirth and they like the small independent shops. I don't think so many will come when there are more shuttered-up shops and takeaways, and charity shops."

Fellow campaigner Margaret Dale said: "One of the treasures of my life is being able to go to the shops on a Saturday morning and talk to shopkeepers and neighbours – who I might not see during the rest of the week – and buy fresh produce in the quantities I want. I don't want to have to fight my way through huge queues."

English Heritage, which believes Holmfirth is at risk of decay, said it hoped "the council will consider its likely effect on the historic town centre when it determines the application".

Tesco, which has 2,282 British stores, said nine out of 10 people left Holmfirth to do a weekly shop and argued that having a superstore would revitalise local trade. "We have carried out a full public consultation and the majority of people we have spoken to have expressed support for this store," the chain said. "Our experience shows that when a new Tesco store opens, other local traders can actually benefit from the increased footfall." It would "continue to engage with the community" and had already dropped an unpopular plan for a green roof.

Campaigners say most residents are against the development. "Once an out-of-town superstore rolls into the area this diversity would be gone forever," Keep Holmfirth Special says. "Small independent shops would close in the face of severe undercutting and lack of footfall ... [then] services feel the squeeze too. Once this begins to happen there is no way back."

Some residents disagree. Michelle Apperley left the following message on the group's website: "Yawn yawn yawn, same tiresome old stuff. I was born in Holmfirth and lived here ever since. I want a Tesco's."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us