Years of ‘consultation’ - but nothing happened

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Last week’s Todmorden News front page story on the sale of the Rose Street site was misleading on several counts.

One of my first commitments as a Todmorden ward councillor in summer 2014 was a meeting of the Todmorden Development Board, where the original proposal by Resilienti you referred to - for a mixed-use scheme comprising shops, offices and flats -was discussed.

They had recently given a presentation to the Board and the consensus clearly was that it was NOT appropriate for the site. Coun Janet Battye should recall that as she was at the meeting.

Calderdale was approached late last year by McCarthy and Stone after previous initiatives to sell the site came to nought. As stated in your report, in 2012, Calderdale Council undertook a tendering process and no viable scheme came forward.

The retail sector was - and continues to be - in serious trouble and places like Todmorden are at the sharp end of this.

Your spokesperson for a ‘ furious’ Resilienti did not mention their latest offer which we more recently discussed was for two shops – Heron Foods and Boyes DIY – which would have been in direct competition with the market and would hardly improve the town centre nor fit in with our vision for the centre of Todmorden.

The financial offer was also way below market value for the site and, frankly, derisory.

The Rose Street plans have cross-party support at Calderdale where they have been approved by the Conservative Cabinet - with the exception of Liberal Democrats who talk endlessly about ‘consultation.” There have been years of consultation on Rose Street and absolutely nothing has happened. .

Of course, we had the option of rejecting the McCarthy and Stone bid and waiting for something else to come along, leaving the site as it has been for many years .

The kind of space which members of Tod Pride and Coun Janet Battye regularly complain about as an ‘eyesore’ and in need of regeneration.

They can’t have it both ways.

Members of Tod Pride have been invited to the latest meeting of the Development Board and I hope we can have a discussion about the future of the town centre to which they can contribute in a positive way - rather than criticising schemes like this one which will be of benefit not only to older people in need of housing but will boost the prospects of the Market and economic future of Todmorden.

Let’s be clear. Now the McCarthy and Stone project has been approved in principle, there will be a thorough planning application process by means of which local residents will be able to make their views known. At this stage there is also absolutely no reason why a rival developer cannot come forward.

But at least there is now the prospect of progress on this site.

Coun Susan Press

Labour, Todmorden ward