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A Superstore Too Far

By Emma Brooksbank

How the people of a Yorkshire market town fought back against their local council and the UK's biggest retailers - and won.

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'Emma Brooksbank has written, with admirable clarity, an investigative account of a planning battle that prompts the reader to ask two big questions. How could a group of district councillors possibly imagine in the first place that they could award themselves planning consent on a car-park site owned by the council, in the hope of garnering several million pounds for the council's coffers, without the support of the townspeople whose livelihoods and quality of life would be affected by their decision? And why did this dispute have to bounce around the corridors and pending trays of England's arcane planning system for so long, and at such huge expense to the taxpayer, until it was finally thrown out? The answers are all here - and readers will admire the grit with which the citizen objectors, of whom Emma Brooksbank was a leader, fought the good fight until victory was theirs. As well as harnessing the support of the townspeople and mastering the complexities of planning bureaucracy, they ran a superb local and national media campaign, while the councillors huddled in their nearby bunker quoting procedural niceties at each other. The district council, usually seen as doing its best to provide basic local services, ended up looking like a 'tinpot' authority that had swum out of its depth and lost its moral footing.' Martin Vander Weyer, Business Editor of The Spectator

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