CALDERDALE Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for a Sainsbury’s store in Todmorden has re-opened debate about the future use of the Halifax Road gateway site.
While the supermarket has not yet indicated if it will launch an appeal, thoughts have turned to whether the marina scheme designed by architect Ivor Dibble, in conjunction with Todmorden Pride, earlier this year could be put forward as a viable alternative use of the site.
James Gregory, chairman of Todmorden Pride, said: “Only when an appeal has been rejected will the bank have to put the property on the market at a realistic commercial price.
“At that point, we will push a marina-type project or something of equivalent benefit and value to the town. We have always believed the marina is do-able without public money.
“Perhaps the most important result of our floating the marina was the remarkable response from people who ordinarily don’t make their voices heard within Todmorden, discussing and supporting imaginative, optimistic and forward thinking development in Todmorden.”
Mr Gregory said it had to be anticipated that Sainsbury’s will appeal the council’s decision.
“In that appeal there will be no room for sentiment,” he said.
“It will be decided on rigorous planning grounds and we at Todmorden Pride believe there are such proper planning grounds for objection.
“But the town’s retailers and the market will have to put their best foot forward to convince an inspector that they have a real future.”
Kevin MacMillan, Sainsbury’s development manager, said: “We are of course very disappointed that members decided to ignore both their officers’ advice and the advice of the council’s appointed retail consultant.
“The committee has yet to finalise its reasons for refusal and we understand that we have to wait until their next committee meeting before these will be finalised.
“At that point we will consider our options.”
The council’s decision has proved to be a major talking point in the town over the past week.
The Todmorden News has received many letters about the issue.
l See page nine for a selection of your views and comments in our Letters Special