Save our shop, demand Lightcliffe residents as plans for housing development threaten its future

Angry customers at a shop in Lightcliffe are fighting to keep Patel’s Off Licence open as a proposed housing development threatens its future.

By Tom Scargill
Thursday, 5th August 2021, 8:40 am
Patel's Off Licence - News - Convenience Grocer, Stoney Lane Estate, Lightcliffe. Customers with, from the left, councillor George Robinson, Shila Patel, Angel Patel, seven, Vipul Patel and Shriya Patel, 13.
Patel's Off Licence - News - Convenience Grocer, Stoney Lane Estate, Lightcliffe. Customers with, from the left, councillor George Robinson, Shila Patel, Angel Patel, seven, Vipul Patel and Shriya Patel, 13.

Vipul Patel and Shila Patel have run the shop for around 11 years, with Shila’s dad running it before then for more than 20 years.

But it is feared it may have to close for good due to Together Housing intending to develop houses on the site.

It was hoped a compromise could be reached with Together Housing where they would build shops into their plans, but they have since confirmed that they will not incorporate a shop into the plans.

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Patel's Off Licence - News - Convenience Grocer, Stoney Lane Estate, Lightcliffe. Vipul Patel and Shila Patel.

“I’m not happy with the fact they’re taking away a shop that does quite well and that the community needs,” said Mrs Patel.

“We have quite a lot of elderly people that come in here and I’m probably the only person they see that week.

“It’s taking away their lifeline. I have a customer who can’t straighten his back when he walks so he struggles to get on public transport, and he comes in here every day for his meals.

“What are people like that going to do?

“Back in 2012, Together Housing promised us they’d build us another shop before they demolished this.”

A petition has been set-up in support of a new shop being built.

“I’m amazed by the support I’ve had from my customers,” Mrs Patel said, “they’ve even said ‘let them come, we’ll chain ourselves to the building’.

“We’ve got a good relationship with our customers, they’re like my family.

“We want another shop building, the estate needs a shop, especially the elderly folk, single parent families, people who don’t have cars.”

Councillor George Robinson (Conservative, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe Ward), said: “Residents want a community shop. Mrs Patel’s shop is a lifeline to many.

“She has served her community diligently during the pandemic. The solution here is simple; incorporate a shop into the housing plans.

“This is a reasonable approach, and would be a compromise on both sides. Planning shouldn’t be a zero sum game.”

George Paterson, Director of Property Services at Together Housing Group said: “Together Housing Group has been working with Calderdale Council to look at ways to address the many issues that have arisen from the derelict buildings at Beech Grove, Lightcliffe. The community has raised a number of concerns with us and it is clear that the most effective solution is to demolish the existing buildings and provide much needed new housing. Unfortunately, this would mean the unavoidable demolition of the existing shop.

“We’ve been in touch with the shop owner and continue to discuss options with them. We have shared our plans with Coun Robinson, as we know that many in the community value the work we are doing to tackle anti-social behaviour, repurpose a derelict site and provide better housing for the area. Coun Robinson has not responded directly to our letter, but we are aware that he has presented the petition to the Council. Together Housing has been part of the Calderdale community for several decades and we will always take notice of any comments made and respond accordingly, when they are presented to us through appropriate channels.”

If you would like to sign the petition, visit https://www.sortedbygeorge.co.uk/SOS/.