York & North Yorkshire

Nuns under fire over Whitby Tesco plan

Objectors
Image caption The residents have set up a petition against the plans

A group of nuns in a North Yorkshire seaside resort are facing opposition to their plans to sell off convent land so a Tesco supermarket can be built.

The Order of the Holy Paraclete have agreed a deal with developers to build a store on their land in Whitby.

More than 2,000 people have signed a petition against the development, which would also include 90 affordable homes.

Developers S Harrison said the scheme would create about 300 jobs and benefit shoppers.

'Beautiful site'

Helen Barker, from Whitby Residents Against Tesco, said the main issues were the site being built on greenbelt land and an increase in traffic.

"This is a beautiful site, it will completely change the whole atmosphere of the place.

"Whitby is really special, it's unique and we want to preserve that atmosphere.

"Tesco could have a huge impact on small businesses in Whitby and I think that should be a matter of concern to all of us, we do not want a half-empty town centre.

"We are very concerned about the traffic, that will create huge problems for residents and visitors."

S Harrison director David Clancy said the plans, being considered by Scarborough council, would feature a Tesco eco-store and affordable homes, which was a major issue in the town.

He said: "Whitby is a very difficult place for local people to buy homes in because a lot of people come in and buy second homes or holiday homes and prices have shot up in recent years.

"A lot of people are having to move to Scarborough to get affordable housing and that's splitting families up."

Mr Clancy added: "We weren't expecting a smooth ride. People who live close to the site are concerned about its impact and we have done everything to minimise that."

A spokesman for Tesco said there was a need for a supermarket in the town.

The Order of the Holy Paraclete refused to comment.

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