The headline article in the February 17 edition of the Todmorden News highlighted objections raised by various national societies to Netto’s plans for the Abraham Ormerod and Olympia Cinema sites, but I believe the approach by Netto and their professional team should be welcomed by Todmorden residents.
The existing buildings have resulted in dereliction of a key part of the town centre for far too long.
The 1980s replacement for the Abraham Ormerod Centre has recently been demolished. Whilst opinions will inevitably differ regarding the relative merits of the 1932 Art Deco faience work to the cinema facade or fine ashlar detailing of the 1938 Abraham Ormerod Centre, the fact is that no sustainable use has been realised for either building.
The three-storey cinema facade has no practical use in a single storey development such as a supermarket and would require uneconomic construction to form the fourth side of the tower if retained when the remaining auditorium is demolished.
Issues such as health and safety in maintenance and requirements for access under the Disability Discrimination Act and Building Regulations, not catered for in the original structure, would also need to be addressed.
We should welcome Netto’s proposals to provide a completely new building, sympathetic in materials and form with its surroundings, which will strengthen the retail heart of our town and bring improvements in adjacent public realm.