COUNCILLORS were cheered and applauded for unanimously rejecting a supermarket’s application to build a new store in Todmorden.
Calderdale Council’s planning committee refused to grant permission for a Sainsbury’s store on land off Halifax Road, much to the delight of the many objectors who crammed into the meeting room at Halifax Town Hall.
Members rejected the application due to concerns about the impact another supermarket would have on existing town centre shops and businesses in Todmorden.
Tory councillor Richard Marshall (Luddenden Foot) said: “We have a duty to look after and care for our towns and villages. If we don’t, nobody else will.
“Todmorden Town Council are adamant they do not want it, the people of Todmorden don’t want it and I certainly cannot support this application.”
Stephen Baines (Con, Northowram/Shelf) said: “In rejecting the application we are listening to the people of Todmorden.
“I think the overwhelming majority of the people of Todmorden don’t support this fourth supermarket in their town.”
Keith Hutson (Lib-Dem, Warley) said: “A total of 150 jobs may be created, which is a big carrot, but I don’t know how many jobs will be lost as a result of the development.
“There’s more to development than supermarkets.
“I know Todmorden is trying to promote itself as a tourist attraction and I don’t see how a supermarket will help to promote it as that.”
He urged Todmordians to “think creatively and galvanise interest” for an alternative use of the site.
“Because I have faith that the people of Todmorden can do this, I support my colleagues against the supermarket.”
After the meeting Todmorden ward councillor Ian Cooper, who spoke on behalf of the objectors, said: “I’m absolutely delighted.
“It’s a great outcome for Todmorden. I’m sure there will be dissenters but I hope that in time they will realise the wisdom of the decision.”
The committee went against the advice of independent planning consultants Alyn Nicholls, who said there were little or no planning grounds for rejecting the application.
The Halifax Road gateway site in Todmorden has been derelict for many years.
In May architect Ivor Dibble, in conjunction with Todmorden Pride, put forward a proposed marina scheme for the site featuring a dry dock, hotel and a bar/restaurant.
It is not yet known if Sainsbury’s will appeal.