‘We are talking about our future’

Photographic representation of what a Todmorden Marina may look like, by 3D artist Saul Caldwell, June 2011
Photographic representation of what a Todmorden Marina may look like, by 3D artist Saul Caldwell, June 2011

MORE members of the public took the chance to look at designs for a marina in Todmorden last weekend.

Members of Todmorden Pride’s board, including architect Ivor Dibble who drew up the proposals, were on hand to give more detail about them.

They will only have the chance to go-ahead should plans submitted by Sainsbury’s supermarket for the key Halifax Road site be refused. There is a developer interest in a marina, say Todmorden Pride.

The proposals have divided opinion in Todmorden, but they have certainly got the town not only talking but also talking about what sort of future the town may have, a good thing in itself, said Mr Dibble.

Our readers have certainly been sending in their views, and in this week’s edition we have produced an extra double page spread of more of them on pages six and seven, and they all contain interesting and contrasting lines of argument.

As a further guide to how a marina might look, 3D visualisation artist and Todmorden resident Mr Saul Caldwell offered his services to Todmorden Pride and having photographed the empty site from the relevant angles has produced a photographic likeness of how it may appear.

Mr Caldwell said that architecturally he believes the proposed supermarket looks like it belongs on a retail park, ignoring the Rochdale Canal.

Of the marina scheme he says: “I truly believe that a scheme of this nature would kick start a whole change in direction for the town which would see an influx of people passing through and would have a very positive effect on the market and retail heart of our town. Whether on boats, bikes or on foot, we should be using our canal as much as possible. The canal is a fantastic gift from our Victorian forefathers that has been recognised by other neighbouring towns to their credit.”

He has also been involved in setting up a Facebook page which allows people to post their views. The page is www.facebook.com/todmarina - people can view an online gallery and leave their comments, whether they are for or against the scheme.

Strong arguments in favour of the supermarket have also been put by other townspeople. In the letters and emails we publish this week Mr G. Silman says: “The council’s main concern should be trying to attract successful businesses into the town...the young and unemployed of this town must have a chance to work.”

Chairman of Todmorden Pride Mr James Gregory, speaking after the two-day session at Todmorden Library last Friday and Saturday, said most people who came thought the marina scheme was a very attractive use of the site and one which would give a fresh dimension to the character of the town.

“I think people are concerned about jobs but our proposals would bring jobs and, we hope, interesting jobs,” he said.

“The whole issue has roused great interest and brought out many, many people concerned about the fabric, look, feel and character of the town, who want to become involved in shaping its future in a positive way. What we have tried to do is offer an alternative, to be patient.”

The canal and tourism was for the pleasure of Todmorden people as well as visitors, he said. Todmorden Pride welcomed people on board to give their input from all walks of the town’s life and Mr Gregory said he was very encouraged by the number of people now coming forward to discuss the plan.