ROYAL London Property Ltd, a London-based company, wants to redevelop the area of land adjacent to the Pennine Shopping Centre. On paper this appears a benign proposal to replace old shops with new and more shops, but all is not as it seems.
The demolition of the Pennine Shopping Centre is the bulldozing of jobs and of successful businesses. Yes, there are empty premises in the development area, not because they were financial failures but made empty because the developer refused to renew their lease.
Worse, it’s not just the Pennine Shopping Centre to be “redeveloped” but also scheduled to be flattened are the adjacent motor garages and one famous Halifax pub “The Pump Room” all must go to improve access to a new enlarged retail park. But with the town centre sprinkled with closed retail premises how does an enlarged edge of town shopping park contribute to the success of the town centre?
It is one thing to create new businesses and jobs on derelict ground, it is quite another to flatten the workplaces of those employed in successful businesses. This is precisely what will happen if Calderdale Council’s planning committee sanctions this project.
That at some point in the future new jobs will be created is no consolation to those made redundant in the present or for those whose with engineering skills that are of little value to a retail park. They won’t even be able to retrain in this vicinity because the employment retraining centre on South Parade is also scheduled for demolition.
The decision ultimately rests with Calderdale Council’s planning committee and they should question if there is a pressing case for a redevelopment that creates significant immediate and unemployment.