‘Knickers to them,’ say store protesters

Protesters have hung underpants at the Burnley Road site to display their opposition to Asda abandoning its plans to develop the site
Protesters have hung underpants at the Burnley Road site to display their opposition to Asda abandoning its plans to develop the site

PROTESTERS found a unique way to display their opposition to Asda’s decision to abandon plans to build a new store on Burnley Road, Todmorden.

As part of their protest, they erected a washing line at the site of the Abraham Ormerod Centre and former Olympia cinema and invited people to hang up their underwear.

Posters were also put up at the site, which said: “Asda, you own this site, how about making it tidy and clean while you make up your minds what to do?

“We, the people of Todmorden, want to live in a vibrant town and you have the power to help us.

“For very little money, you could make a nice green open space that looks good. Why not do the right thing?

“It’s not big or clever to hurt a small town.”

Protesters have decorated the buildings and planted flowers in response to what they describe as “corporate greed and the blight of our town centre”.

A spokesperson for the protesters said: “For ten years or more the building has laid rotting and now is the time to act.

“Local folk want Asda to clean up their property or demolish it.

“When they had the public consultation, people talked to them and said we need to clean up the site.

“Apparently they have got a plan to clean up the site. They have responded to public concerns.

“They have taken the washing lines down now. Maybe they are getting the message.

“All we can hope is that the community has led the way and now Asda is going to follow.”

Asda was granted planning permission for a new store on the Burnley Road site, but earlier this summer it decided to switch its interest to Halifax Road when Sainsbury’s withdrew from proceedings.

Philip Bartram, Asda senior property communications manager, said: “We are working closely with civic groups in Todmorden to maintain the former Netto site on Burnley Road.

“We will shortly be undertaking maintenance work to brighten up the site in the town centre.

“We are also very keen to hear what the local community would like to see on this location in the future.”

Asda invited members of the public to attend a public consultation event at Todmorden Town Hall earlier this month, at which plans for its new store on Halifax Road went on display.

“Our consultation was very well attended by members of the local community in Todmorden, with many people supportive of our proposal for a store on Halifax Road,” Mr Bartram said.

“Our plans for a store in Todmorden will regenerate a brownfield site and give customers more supermarket choice in addition to creating jobs for local people.”

The public inquiry into the Halifax Road store plans was adjourned last month and is scheduled to reconvene at Todmorden Town Hall on October 9.