These are choices and risks we face

An artist's impression of architect Ivor Dibble's proposed marina scheme for the gateway site on Halifax Road, Todmorden
An artist's impression of architect Ivor Dibble's proposed marina scheme for the gateway site on Halifax Road, Todmorden

THE recent marina article has certainly galvanised discussion amongst the people I know.

I agree completely with the central theme - Todmorden badly under plays itself to the outside world. People arriving into Todmorden for the first time are welcomed with one of three entrances which are: waste ground if travelling from Halifax; a boarded up cinema/shop after the stunning Cliviger route from Burnley; a traffic jam outside a poorly sited supermarket when travelling through the top of the valley at Walsden.

Is it any wonder that the tourist industry suffers compared to that of Hebden Bridge and Sowerby Bridge?

It is only when you spend time in Todmorden and Walsden that you realise what incredible places they are. There are few places that mix such stunning religious, civic, industrial and transport architecture in such a small area. It is the home to a wonderfully warm and genuine people, working and living as part of a vibrant community.

Todmorden has so much to offer. It is time to sell it to the outside world. This is how I see the choices we have.

Build a Sainsbury store: on the positive side, this would eliminate the waste ground on Halifax Road and would also offer a limited number of jobs. On the negative side, it will ensure the Halifax Road entrance to town is dire forever. Imagine the tourist view of supermarket, health centre and supermarket.

Another nail in the coffin for the vitally important market. Further exporting of money out of the town.

Develop a marina: on the positive side it would open up one of the (the busiest) entrances to the town to showcase what we have, a proper tourist welcome; it could offer a vibrant centre of activity, the possibility of bars, restaurants, public areas for sitting and maybe, even more radical, street performance which is so popular in Hebden Bridge. Employment in bars, restaurants, marina, possible boat yard business and hotel.

A successful, well marketed hotel would offer the chance to bring both business and tourist revenue into town. There is a shortage of hotel bedrooms on the M62 corridor.

The marina offers a natural balance with the current architecture and community structure of the town.

On the negative side, there is more risk with the marina, financial backing will be required and so could take longer to come to fruition.

It is possible that a marina could sit empty, unused, unloved.

I can only hope that this wonderful town continues being brave, quirky and independent.

Let’s hope for Todmorden’s future and the future of further generations that we do imaginative things that will benefit Todmorden people rather than a southern supermarket chain that only wants to be here because the NIMBYs of Hebden Bridge (who will use the store) have stopped Sainsbury getting into Hebden.

Nick Fowles, Church Walk, Walsden.