Tod is a national phenomenon - we ought to be cashing in on it

IT was refreshing to read Mr and Mrs Olley’s letter in last week’s paper.

Why can’t we follow the example of other small towns that have prospered through carving themselves a niche in the ever-growing tourism industry?

Ludlow, Totnes and Hay-on-Wye, not to mention our nearest neighbour, are all in the national psyche for their unique quirk, and have prospered accordingly.

Thanks to Incredible Edible, Tod now has an international reputation, and inspired people are already starting to visit from all over the world. It is with these people in mind that we should decide what to do with the derelict Halifax Road site.

Imagine the marina picture we’ve all seen, but replace the boats and water with an educational “food walk” through demonstration gardens and aquaponics unit, centred around a “vegetarium” visitors’ centre and cafe next to the canal?

Perhaps some space for local cheese/bread/ice cream etc makers, or a sustainable conference centre? We’d still need an appropriately themed hotel, as there aren’t enough places for visitors to stay and explore the area as it is.

If we need ideas, why don’t we ask those already inspired enough to travel great distances for the IET tour what would make them come back with friends?

Attracting new people to the town will also create new jobs. This was the chief argument of the pro-Sainsbury’s lobby, but they forget that a new supermarket can only replace jobs (unless we all start eating more!).

There are only so many shoppers to feed and only so many people needed to serve them. What is the point in creating jobs in Tod only to lose them in Sowerby Bridge, Halifax or Burnley as we move our shopping habits? If people are looking for a job in this sector, can I suggest using public transport or organising a boycott of the new self-service checkouts at Morrisons?

Clearly, these ideas need investors, but there’s money out there and business opportunists with their ear to the ground will know that Tod has started a nationwide phenomenon, been discussed in Westminster and been endorsed by Prince Charles (“Incredible Edible” gets over a million results on Google!).

Let’s use our collective imagination, market ourselves intelligently and, who knows? We might even win another TV vote!

J. Bridgen, Todmorden.