Sainsbury’s store would revitalise Todmorden

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AFTER speaking in favour of Sainsbury’s at Tuesday’s planning meeting and being heckled while making it, I was accused by a Todmorden market trader of being disgusting and talking, well, a word which can’t be printed in a family newspaper.

Below is an abridged (as requested by the newspaper) version of what I said. I’ll let readers decide. The unabridged version has been deposited with the Todmorden News.

“Todmorden is being run down, factory sites are being demolished and left abandoned and only considered as housing sites, but what is needed is the injection of jobs and businesses that will supply them.

“Every time a business wants to come to town, there is concerted objection to it, and proposals are offered as alternatives, such as the marina project.

“I would like to draw the meeting’s attention to the planning permission submitted a few years ago by a former Todmorden resident who wanted to turn the Dale Street site of the old Todmorden Co-op building and adjoining land to build a marina and a waterside plaza with shops and continental style cafes, and had the finance.

“The development was refused planning permission on the grounds that as there was already a marina in Hebden Bridge, it would not be viable to have another one in Todmorden.

“The new proposal has only been suggested to turn the local view away from a supermarket, as it is the assumption that a supermarket would cost jobs.

“On the contrary, it would create proper jobs with training, decent levels of pay, holidays and holiday pay with long term employment and advancement, not a few hours a week on a market stall or holiday cover in a shop etc, which all have their place for the people who want those hours but are not career-orientated to the young people of the town.

“Wetherspoon’s pub chain re-opened the White Hart a few weeks ago, but would not have if the objections to them doing so had been adhered to. On the contrary, it has enlivened the town, and trade to other pubs has picked up.

“The people of Ludlow in the West Midlands, a market town with a population about the same as Todmorden, fought for nine years to stop Tesco building a supermarket on an out-of-town site and to build it in the town centre and keep the shoppers in the town, a fight which they won with the result that existing businesses have seen their trade increase dramatically.

“And finally, as a green consideration, we all know supermarkets use food miles to bring in produce but how many food miles are used by people driving 20 or so miles there and back to go to the supermarket in the next town?

“A lorry carrying 30 tons of goods to a supermarket uses a lot less fuel than the number of cars or buses needed to carry it away from one.”

Darrell Sunderland, Todmorden.