What we need is free parking - it’s crucial

THE Sainsbury issue has at least caused Morrisons to invest some money in their Todmorden store, at last.

Plans are afoot to expand and increase the floor space.

Todmorden is now at a critical point in its life. It’s no longer a busy manufacturing town, but it has many productive firms which must be encouraged to stay.

The problem with Tod is its access. There are only three roads in and for Tod companies to remain here and expand, these roads must not be restricted by heavy traffic.

So what is the future of this town?

It has only two ways to go, a commuter town and a tourist/leisure town. And Todmorden is lucky - it has beautiful scenery, which must be protected at all costs. It’s close to major cities, has two other tourist towns very close from which it can attract visitors, it has received much beneficial publicity recently and it has a railway station.

I moved here 14 years ago from Altrincham, South Manchester, it has very affluent areas on it’s boundaries and an industrial area (Broadheath). The rail station is in the centre and it had a large goods yard which was closed and changed into a gravel covered car park - and parking was free.

The town boomed, commuters changed from driving into Manchester and took the train, all the shops and market prospered...and then the inevitable happened.

It was sold for development, a supermarket, the town has literally died.

Councillors blamed the opening of the Trafford Centre for the town’s demise, but everyone knows it was the loss of free parking. Broadheath is now a retail park, which has further depleted the shoppers in the town centre.

For Todmorden to succeed, it must have reasons for visitors to come. They will all come by car, so we need car parking., free car parking. There is nothing more annoying than visiting a town only to find that you spend half the time looking at your watch.

Hebden Bridge has major parking problems and Tod could poach those frustrated visitors.

So I suggest to councillors that they urgently sort out the exterior of our beautiful Town Hall, perhaps some urns or statues on the plinths. The Fielden statue should be returned to its original place and it would be nice if the buildings in front of the Old Hall were demolished to allow the Old Hall to be seen.

The old Health Centre land could be a car park, not only for visitors but for train commuters as well.

This would reduce the traffic delays at Littleborough and Milnrow.

So, would a Sainsbury’s attract visitors to our town shops and market? No.

Would the construction employ local contractors? No, Sainsbury’s have their own.

Would a Sainsbury’s cause traffic hold-ups in the town centre? Yes.

Would a marina with other facilities attrct visitors? If done right, I think a big YES.

Anyway, how much food does the population of Todmorden need?

P. B. Parkinson, Todmorden.