Residents are all set to tug on their wellies in protest against the way a supermarket giant has left the pavement around the site entrance to a new store in Todmorden.
Led by Todmorden Town Councillor Steph Booth, she says that while the Lidl site is in limbo the entrance, which has also been heavily coned off, has rendered the main footpath out-of-use to pedestrians largely due a dip frequently filling with water.
The protest will take place at 10.30am tomorrow morning, Saturday, April 7, at the store site in Halifax Road, Todmorden, and she is encouraging people to put on their wellies and come along and join in.
Todmorden Town Council has asked Calderdale Council to put pressure on Lidl to sort the matter out.
Lidl has almost completed building the new store around 200 metres from its smaller existing supermarket, but the development has been controversial with work to finish the scheme stopped while Calderdale Council and the company resolve planning condition issues relating to dispersal of water from the site.
The site is in a part of Todmorden which floods and following advice from the Environment Agency, the council has informed Lidl that two key conditions have not been met, serving the company a planning contravention notice last December.
Advice said that if the build was not completed in line with the planning conditions, it would increase the flooding risk to surrounding properties.
Todmorden was hit in the Boxing Day 2015 floods and the area around the supermarket site was engulfed.
Discussions are taking place between council and company to find a solution to the issue but Coun Booth says the pavement should not just have been left in this state while the two sides sort it out.
Councillor Booth said when Calderdale Council officers came to speak to Todmorden town councillors about the situation in mid-March they were asked to press Lidl to sort out the footpath issue.
Town councillors had also asked for assurances Lidl would not be allowed to open the new store until the water dispersal conditions had been met.
“All work has stopped now awaiting a further report from the Environment Agency but the footpath has been left unusable.
“On Saturday the demonstration is there to say ‘get a grip’. Lidl cannot wait until the issue has been sorted.
“Come along and join the protest to make it clear to corporate organisations that they are not going to trample over us,” she said.
In terms of the bigger picture, the issue was crucial to homes and businesses concerned at the prospect of more floodwater heading towards them in times of danger, she said. On Easter Monday flooding was narrowly averted but the warning sirens were sounded as the town was placed on flood alert.
Calderdale Council’s assistant director for strategic infrastructure, Steven Lee, said: “In response to community concerns about the Lidl development in Todmorden, and following the resulting action taken by the Council and Environment Agency, work on site is now on hold while issues with the drainage are resolved.
“High level discussions are continuing between the council, Lidl and the Environment Agency and we will continue to put pressure on Lidl to ensure that the situation is addressed as quickly as possible.”
A spokesperson for Lidl said the footpath and planning issues were receiving attention.
“We would like to take the opportunity to thank the local community for their patience as we progress with analysis of the site, which we remain in close contact with both the Environment Agency and Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council on, and which we hope to conclude shortly.
“Arrangements were made for remedial works to remove a puddle in a section of the unfinished surface, which gathered due to the pause of highway works.
“Additionally, a temporary solution is being installed, ahead of any construction recommencing.
“We look forward to providing an update on the development in due course, and providing further reassurance around any outstanding queries,” he said.