Tong’s new £14m garden centre on the edge of Wakefield was given the green light today (Thursday), as council planning chiefs approved plans for the site of a former golf course.
The company now has permission to build the new garden centre and soft play area at the former Acanthus Golf Club off Thorpe Lane in Tingley, which is expected to provide up to 250 jobs.
A meeting of Leeds City Council’s South and West Plans Panel approved the scheme after a document, written by council licensing chiefs, had recommended the site be approved in principle.
The document stated: “A Travel Plan has been prepared by the applicant and the findings have been influenced by surveys that have been carried out at Tong Garden Centre.
“Tong Garden Centre is run by the applicant of this proposal and is located within a rural setting that is comparable to the subject site. The bus services and frequencies are similar with Tong Garden centre being approximately 700 metres from the nearest bus stop and this proposal being 850 metres from the bus stop to the front entrance.
“The applicant has confirmed willingness to enter into a Section 106 Agreement, which will relate to the financial contribution of £150,000 towards the provision of six biodiversity units (this provides a scheme that is policy compliant and that achieves a net gain in biodiversity), together with clauses seeking local employment initiatives and the implementation of the proposed travel plan.”
It added that, of the 150 members of staff employed at Tong Garden Centre, more than two thirds of staff travel less than five miles to get to work.
The report concluded: “The applicant has provided various supporting information to ensure that the concerns raised by panel members have been addressed.
“The supporting information further supports the original recommendation that the proposal does represent a sustainable form of development through the provision of a range of social, economic and environmental improvements to the site and wider area.”
Plans submitted to the council last year included a garden centre with a restaurant, landscaping and car parking spaces for 612 vehicles. Outdoor adventure play areas are also included, which the applicant claims can help “tackle childhood obesity”.