Todmorden appears to be awash with misinformation and misunderstanding with regard to the two supermarket planning proposals.
It is upsetting that it is our town councillors in particular that are misguiding us and many of the market traders.
Ever since they learned the magic word ‘footfall’ it seems to have mesmerised them.
It should be recognised that Todmorden is already well provided with supermarkets and there is currently no need for another.
The town already has over 4,000 sq m of supermarket floor space – a Morrisons, a Lidl and a Tesco One-Stop.
According to the retail survey commissioned by Calderdale (WYG Report, 2009), Todmorden, despite being one of Calderdale’s smallest towns, currently has one of the highest ratios of supermarket floorspace per head of population.
This ratio (0.35) is greater than that for even Halifax (0.22) and very much greater than for Hebden Bridge ( 0.095).
Calderdale’s own “Totally Locally” programme highlights the well documented fact that 80 per cent of money spent in a supermarket leaves the local economy (c.f. the reverse statistic, that 80 per cent of money spent in a local shop recirculates in the local economy).
Supermarkets suck revenue out of towns, so clearly Todmorden’s local economy is currently suffering greater revenue deprivation from this source than any other town in Calderdale with the exception of Sowerby Bridge. Small wonder then that the market and the small shops are struggling to survive.
Yes, the problem has been exacerbated by relocation of the Health Centre and a consequent reduction in footfall in the town centre, but it is not the root cause of the problem.
The problem for the traditional market is that the economic muscle of supermarkets can sell ordinary produce and goods at less than cost price and that we are one of the few countries that still permits them to do this.
Do the market traders really believe they can survive in the face of a savagely competitive supermarket as a neighbour?
Perhaps everybody should stop listening to the siren voices of vested interest and start to think for themselves.