Supermarket sweeps in with controversial plans

Disused land on Halifax Road, Todmorden.
Disused land on Halifax Road, Todmorden.
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Plans by supermarket Lidl to build a new store on one of Todmorden’s gateway sites have so far sparked a mixed response.

Todmorden residents say they have mixed feelings about the proposals for a new 2779sqm Lidl store, after Sainsbury’s and then ASDA met enormous objection to their proposals for a store on the same site, ultimately rejected on appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

The discount supermarket already has a store on Halifax Road but is hoping to build bigger premises, with more than 200 car parking spaces and room for other retailers.

Simon Brearley, chair of Todmorden Pride, said: “We’re slightly surprised to see another application after the reaction to Sainsbury’s plans.

“Our main concern is that if Lidl moved to the new site, what would happen to their old property?

“The last thing we need is another derelict building.”

While there are concerns about what would happen to Lidl’s other store, Mr Brearley said the most pressing issue is whether the move will encourage ASDA to spring into action at the site they own on Burnley Road, formerly the Abraham Ormerod Centre and Olympia Cinema sites, which have been derelict for some years now.

Mr Brearley said: “We’re hopeful that this application might influence ASDA to move forward with their development as quickly as possible, because that really is a blight on the town.”

Ward councillors say they will be interested to hear the public’s views on the new supermarket over the coming months.

Councillor Ali Miles, for Calder ward, said: “At the moment, the place looks a tip so I’ll be pleased if the site is used.

“Lidl’s current store is quite well used and of course a bigger store means that it will employ more people, which is good for the town.”

Lidl says the new store would generate 22 new jobs for the area, and would have room on the site for four smaller retailers to let.

Councillor Steve Sweeney, a Todmorden ward representative, said: “I’m looking forward with interest to see what people’s views are on it.”

The previous applications had been controversial in the with opposition fearing a store there would pull people away from the Todmorden Market area and associated shops, as reported in last week’s edition of the Todmorden News.

This time, the application is from a store brand who already have an outlet close by.