Signal of ‘surrender to Sainsbury’s’ sent

I WAS most pleased to read Coun Battye’s letter (July 14) particularly where she addresses the positive achievements that have taken place in our town.

I am sure, however, I will be forgiven for highlighting that much, if not all of those achievements, have been implemented since 2008 – against a backdrop of decay under years of Liberalism that has dominated our town.

However, back to the letter to which I refer, I was initially pleased, but only until I reached a paragraph that referred to the Sainsbury application, and the clear signal that the Leader of the Council - Coun Battye - has sent out to the developer, planners, and members of her own political group.

Namely, that she appears to be prepared to unequivocally acquiesce to the developer’s demands, and to support the introduction of a new Sainsbury store in Todmorden.

Yes, I have read a number of letters that appear to be supportive of this suggestion, but I have to tell your readers that the overwhelming expression of opinion to me, as an elected member, has been one of total opposition.

For my part, your readers may recall that I resigned some 12 months ago from Calderdale’s planning committee, specifically to enable me to fight the saturation of Todmorden, by supermarkets.

I am firmly of the opinion that the proposal will, without doubt, be detrimental to the vitality and vibrancy of our town, changing as it will the basic retail dynamics forever.

This is not just an emotional expression, as I am sure some people may comment, but in truth there are numerous fundamental “material considerations” that in my opinion would justify refusal.

I do, however, acknowledge that in parallel much needs to be done to improve our retail offer, including the night time economy, but with respect another supermarket is not the answer.

We need to be much more innovative, more aspirational.

There are occasions when as elected members, we need to stand and be counted, acknowledging the potential to perhaps disassociate ourselves from some of the electorate.

For my part I have no hesitation in confirming my intention to present a case on behalf of the objectors, regardless of what appears to be Coun Battye’s early surrender.

Coun Ian Cooper (Conservative, Todmorden Ward, Calderdale Council)