Sainsbury’s decision due next week

MEMBERS of Calderdale Council’s planning committee have been advised to grant permission for a Sainsbury’s supermarket, off Halifax Road, Todmorden, when the application goes before councillors on Tuesday.

Experts have said that shops will suffer if another supermarket is, built in the town but there are little or no planning grounds for rejecting it.

There would have been grounds for refusing the Sainsbury’s plan if Government guidance had not recently changed.

“There is clearly insufficient capacity in available expenditure to support the existing foodstores and proposed developments,” according to independent planning consultants Alyn Nicholls.

“But the need test was removed from policy because it was considered to inhibit competition, limit choice and restrict access to shopping facilities.”

In a report to councillors, the consultants say it is not the purpose of the planning system to protect existing commercial interests.

Head of planning, Geoff Willerton, has recommended councillors be “mindful to permit” the scheme, subject to legal agreements to help pay for environmental improvements worth more than £250,000.

The proposal to build the Sainsbury’s store has attracted a 3,000-name petition from objectors, 482 individual objections and 82 letters of support.

As part of its public consultation, Sainsbury’s sent a questionnaire to 8,000 households. Almost 80 per cent of the returned forms were in favour of the supermarket being built.

Todmorden Town Council recommended refusal of the application.