Here we go again!
In 1994, a united front of shopkeepers and local residents successfully campaigned against planning permission for a supermarket (believed to have been Sainsbury’s) on the Brown’s site.
Now a supermarket is trying it on again, despite our Coop having improved greatly in that period and the local food shop offer having increased considerably.
There is talk of 100 new jobs. What is not said is that many of these will be part time, some for only a few hours a week that are suitable as weekend jobs for 16-18 year old school pupils.
What is also not said is that a supermarket will inevitably suck jobs from our town centre, as well as from the Thursday and Sunday markets, and probably also from the excellent Todmorden market.
This will put at serious risk the livelihood of shop owners and their staff, and also market traders, with some possibly losing businesses they have put many hard working hours into building up.
Every shop or market trader who goes out of business reduces choice, and will probably also affect local producers who market through local shops and markets.
Our much praised town of small shops would like end up like so many other towns with lots of boarded up properties disfiguring it.
Supermarkets are notorious for generating high food mileages with all that means for carbon emissions and damage to our climate.
Furthermore, a supermarket on the Brown’s site will be a 24/7 operation, at least as far as the warehouse side is concerned. This will mean possibly disturbance for people whose properties are adjacent to the site.
A new supermarket will inevitably increase traffic on the busy A 646, including increased articulated lorry movements through Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd centres.
We do not need a new supermarket. If people want to shop in one, then there are two in Todmorden, with ASDA on the way, and several in Halifax.
Subject to flooding issues, the Brown’s site is ideal as a site for housing for older people who no loner find it easy to climb hills.
There is no owner-occupied sheltered housing in this area. With an ageing population of hoe owners currently living on our hillsides, this land should be reserved for accessible housing.
That would have that the additional benefit of freeing up the hillside houses for younger people.