Councillors in U-turn on Asda’s new store plan

The Abraham Ormerod Centre, Burnley Road, Todmorden, is where Asda are looking to build a new store
The Abraham Ormerod Centre, Burnley Road, Todmorden, is where Asda are looking to build a new store

Councillors have performed a U-turn in their stance on a new supermarket in Todmorden by rejecting Asda’s revised planning application.

Todmorden Town Council had supported the supermarket giant’s plans for a new store on the site of the former Abraham Ormerod Centre and Olympia cinema, on Burnley Road, when they were submitted in 2010.

But at last week’s development committee meeting, members voted against the new application for a food store and petrol filling station with landscaping, access, car parking and servicing.

Members felt the revised building design was unsuitable and the petrol station - which was not included in the previous application - was too close to nearby residential properties.

Coun Chris Baksa said although he supports Asda in principle and would welcome development on an eyesore site, he felt the design was “cheap and uninspiring”.

He said: “It doesn’t embrace its location. It looks like a giant metal shed with no consideration for its surroundings.

“It looks like it should be in a trading park rather than in a historic market town.

“I think we would be replacing one eyesore with another.”

Coun Richard White said the petrol station raised concerns about proximity to nearby housing and also increased traffic it would create.

Committee chairman Coun Mark Catterall said: “I think I get the feeling that people are in favour of a supermarket on the site.

“We want to get rid of the eyesore site but I have serious concerns - the main one is the petrol station.”

Several objectors attended the meeting and welcomed the council’s decision. Spokesperson Sally Deith, representing residents on Ridge Bank, said their concerns included noise from 24-hour opening, pollution from extra traffic and proximity of houses to the petrol station.

She said they were happy with the previous supermarket proposal.