We must now focus on getting empty sites to benefit local people

WE’VE now lived in Todmorden for the best part of ten years – and we’re pleased that we made the move.

We came here initially because it offered us a house in a setting that we liked the look of, but to this we can now add that we’ve got good neighbours, a lovely local pub, we like the town and there’s lots to do.

Todmorden is a good place to live and it could be even better.

From my involvement with Calderdale Council, and Todmorden Pride, I know that a lot of effort has been spent over the years in trying to work out what to do to improve the town centre.

The new plan for refurbishing the Town Hall is a good start and I will do my best to ensure that it succeeds. When walking round the market with Prince Charles last summer I was really impressed by the quality of the local produce on sale and I believe that the Asda/Netto supermarket will bring people into the town centre where they will surely take advantage of what is on offer at the market and in the other shops.

I’m pleased to see Wetherspoons doing up the White Hart and I admire the enthusiasm and effort of Incredible Edible and Todmorden in Bloom.

However, even with all these positive points about the town, I still feel that we need a plan for the area between Todmorden College/Police Station, Morrisons and the Hope Street site.

The idea of a marina on the Hope Street site has many attractions and I think that we’ve all got concerns at the prospect of another supermarket coming to Todmorden. There are understandable fears that another supermarket on the Hope Street/Halifax Road site will draw people away from the town and I do question whether we really need another one (Morrisons may be “overshopped” but perhaps there are reasons other than too few supermarkets as to why Morrisons is so popular).

If Sainsbury’s is the only option then perhaps serious thought ought to be given to applying conditions concerning the provision of other services, so that people are not encouraged away from existing town centre shops and businesses.

Most of important of all is that things should happen – we need a workable plan so that developments get built the empty sites get used for the benefit of local people. Todmorden is a good place to live – and I intend to play my part in making it even better.

Coun Janet Battye

Liberal Democrat, Calder ward

and Leader of Calderdale Council