Inquiry into store plans set to resume

Artist's impression of the proposed Asda store, Halifax Road, Todmorden
Artist's impression of the proposed Asda store, Halifax Road, Todmorden

THE public inquiry into the supermarket proposals for the Halifax Road site is scheduled to resume next week.

Asda is seeking planning permission for a new 20,000 sq ft store on the site, creating around 160 new jobs.

But there is opposition to the plans, with traders and residents fearful of the impact on existing town centre businesses.

When the public inquiry began back in July, the planning inspector adjourned the hearing due to concerns about the level of consultation carried out on the Asda plans.

Since then, Asda has held a public exhibition at Todmorden Town Hall to explain its proposals and ask for comments.

Philip Bartram, Asda senior property communications manager, said 72 per cent of the feedback received has been in favour of a supermarket on the site.

“We are pleased that local people have embraced the new plans and agree with us that a new Asda store would deliver major long-term benefits to Todmorden,” he said.

“To gain 72 per cent of support from visitors to the public exhibition is extremely encouraging and we very much hope to bring forward a scheme that will bring our supporters’ wishes to fruition.

“We are still receiving feedback from people telling us to forge ahead, for which we are very grateful.

“Our change of focus, from Burnley Road to Halifax Road, is because we believe the Halifax Road site to be a more appropriate size than the previously consented scheme.”

If the appeal is successful, Asda will look to bring forward new development proposals for alternative uses of the Abraham Ormerod Centre and Olympia cinema site.

“It is quite clearly in everyone’s interest that Todmorden continues to thrive in the long term and we hope to play a major role in that,” Mr Bartram said.

The inquiry, led by the Property Alliance Group, will reconvene at Todmorden Town Hall on Tuesday, October 9.