Supermarket giant Tesco has backtracked over its offer to sell land it owns in the vicinity of the former Driffield Cattle Market.
The town council and its counterparts on the East Riding authority are keen to see the area tidied up or redeveloped - especially the cattle market site itself, which has become an eyesore.
Planning permission for a supermarket on a site known in planning terms as Driff 9, which includes the cattle market and adjacent car park, was granted several years ago - but so far no development has started.
This is partly due to the fact that the whole Driff 9 site is in the hands of several owners, including Tesco.
The East Riding Council has sent a letter to all land owners in the vicinity of the Driff 9 site to ask what their plans are for the future.
Coun Symon Fraser, ERYC ward councillor, said previously: “We are hoping we can get the existing landowners who are at loggerheads, who are unwilling, unable or simply unprepared to come to agreement to bring forward long needed development for Driffield.”
It seemed there might be a nod towards progress earlier this summer when Tesco announced in the Driffield Times and Post: “Tesco owns some land in Driffield on the plot known as the ‘Cattle Market’ site which we were previously considering for a store development. We are keen to sell the land and will consider all reasonable offers.”
However, it now seems that the company has withdrawn that offer - leaving the possibility of comprehensive redevelopment of Driff9 in limbo once more.
The news came to light last week after Driffield town council clerk Claire Binnington wrote to Tesco to ask: “We would be very interested to know exactly which land is owned by Tesco and how much Tesco would actually want for the land.”
A response was received from Mr David Burkey on behalf of Tesco who said: “We do own a number of parcels within Driffield, however there has been no decision regarding the future use of that site pending resolution of what is to happen with the existing Tesco store.
“We have for many years had plans to redevelop the existing store. We own land adjoining the existing store, notably the former Kwik Save, and this would be required in the event we seek to replace the existing store upon the same site. However, we also own land adjacent to the former cattle market.
We have in the past worked with owners of the cattle market to bring forward a proposed new store on that site. This proposal has not progressed because of ownership issues and the ability to bring forward a comprehensive development on that site.”
Mrs Binnington replied: “Am I right in assuming then that the land at Driff 9 is for the time being not for sale and being retained by Tesco?”
Mr Burkey said: “At the moment, until we resolve our future strategy, that remains the position. We did have an approach to buy the land but the Board decided at that time against disposal pending our strategic review. Obviously, should the position change then I am more than happy to consider disposal.”