Battle lines drawn as store goes for appeal

Artist's impression of the revised plans for the proposed Sainsbury's store off Halifax Road, Todmorden
Artist's impression of the revised plans for the proposed Sainsbury's store off Halifax Road, Todmorden

A SUPERMARKET has decided to appeal against Calderdale Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for a new store in Todmorden.

Sainsbury’s has announced its intention to appeal and overturn the council’s decision as it seeks the go-ahead for a new supermarket on the Halifax Road gateway site.

Kevin Macmillan, development manager for Sainsbury’s, said: “I can confirm that Sainsbury’s has decided to appeal against Calderdale Council planning committee’s decision to overturn its officer’s recommendation and refuse planning permission for a new store in Todmorden.

“The new store would create up to 150 new full and part time jobs for the local community and provide more choice, keeping shoppers in the town.

“Since councillors refused our application, many people have contacted us to express their disappointment in the decision and to urge Sainsbury’s to appeal.”

Anti-supermarket campaigners have vowed to do all they can to oppose Sainsbury’s plans.

Coun Ian Cooper, who spoke on behalf of the objectors when the application went before Calderdale Council last summer, said: “Whilst there are without doubt a number of people who would like a fourth supermarket, I have to say that the overwhelming majority are opposed to it.

“When I have gone back to talk to people, they are fearful of the consequences of supermarket saturation.

“It’s not a brand issue, it’s just that they are concerned that you can only get a pint out of a pint pot.”

James Gregory, chairman of Todmorden Pride, said people have to think about what sort of legacy they want to leave for the town.

“We don’t wish for the future of the town to be known simply as a centre for supermarkets,” he said.

“It can do no good for the town and it shows that Todmorden’s expectations and ambitions are very low indeed.

“We will do all we can to ensure that there is proper opposition to this.

“I ask people to imagine what sort of legacy they will leave for the town.

“The major buildings in town are all supermarkets. Is that really what we want to leave for our children?”

Coun Anne James, who chairs Todmorden Town Council’s development committee, said jobs would be lost as the town could not support four supermarkets.

“My concern is for the little shops and the market,” she said. “It’s going to have a big impact on them.

“I think the site could be put to better use than another supermarket.

“The town need regeneration and it won’t be regenerated with another supermarket.”

Mayor of Todmorden Coun Richard White said: “I think I can speak for quite a number of people that we hope the appeal fails, particularly because the old cinema site is about to be turned into an Asda.

“With Asda here, I can’t see that Sainsbury’s can justify their position.”