THE bid to create a marina on the Halifax Road gateway site is gathering momentum as councillors unanimously backed the scheme.
James Gregory, chairman of Todmorden Pride, and architect Ivor Dibble, who has produced the scheme, presented the proposal to members of Todmorden town council’s development committee last week.
Councillors gave their backing to the proposed marina as they felt it would add to the character of Todmorden, promote tourism and attract people to the town.
The proposal has been put forward as an alternative to Sainsbury’s application to build a supermarket on the Halifax Road site.
It includes a 52-berth marina, dry dock, a three star hotel and a bar/restaurant to give the gateway site more of a leisure-based emphasis.
Mr Gregory said: “We are concerned that if Sainsbury’s is built, the town will be completely dominated by supermarkets.
“The character of the town will be affected by what’s on that site. We believe that a marina will be a vast improvement.”
He said Todmorden Pride believes that the Sainsbury’s application is an attempt to meet Hebden Bridge retail demands in Todmorden.
He cautioned against the view that the only options available are either a Sainsbury’s supermarket or a derelict site.
“We are very conscious that people in Todmorden are frustrated by derelict land,” he said.
“We feel people in Todmorden are so fed up with the site that they think a Sainsbury’s is better. But once it goes up, there’s no going back.”
Mr Gregory said there has been interest from a developer about producing the marina scheme at a commercially viable price.
“We would like the water to become a significant feature of the town,” he said. “We think it’s one of the town’s strengths.
“If we are to have this endorsed as a realistic possibility, we feel it’s important for Todmorden town council to be supportive of a scheme such as this.”
Coun Anne James, who chairs the committee, said there is permission for a mixed use development on the site.
“For me, the canal is a valuable asset for Todmorden and I hold the view that this marina scheme is broadly compliant with the mixed use conditions,” she said.
“We have always been against Sainsbury’s so we will support another use for the site.”
Coun John Lockhart said: “This scheme looks to me to be something that would really open up the middle of town and give it a different character. I don’t think a supermarket would do that.
“A supermarket might be better than a derelict site but once you have built it, it closes off a number of possibilities.”
Coun Abid Hussain felt the marina scheme was a very good idea. “It will bring people into the town. I’m fully in support of it,” he said.
Mr Gregory hopes to display plans for the scheme, produced by Mr Dibble on a voluntary basis working in conjunction with Todmorden Pride, at Todmorden Library in the future.