We thought we’d made it clear to Sainsbury’s – the town has no use for them and we have plenty of better ideas for the space.  The developers, Eshton Gregory, have re-submitted the application and we’re going to have to fight all over again.  Watch this space for for more details, coming soon.

SOS flierFor those people who are still unsure why supermarkets are bad, and why Sainsbury’s would be bad for Hebden Bridge in particular, check out the flyer below…

Click on the links to download-and-print the flyer if you want a paper copy

Flyer PDF link   Flyer jpeg link

SOS leaflet


Hebden Bridge Times – Front Page Article – 18/9/2014

HBT18_9_14Front and inside…



Yes, its true – Sainsbury’s application to build in Hebden Bridge was tonight refused by Calderdale Council.


While it seems likely they’ll go for an appeal, we are all very happy at this stage.  Thanks everyone for turning out and supporting us when needed, thanks for all the objection letters which definitely helped sway the decision, thanks to all the SOS crew for brilliant canvassing, flyer-and-leafleting… and thanks to the councillors who saw sense.


We are prepared to carry the fight on to Sainsbury’s and hope to get them to leave town without a fight.  Watch this space and Facebook for updates.


The meeting to discuss the application is at 6pm this coming Tuesday 16th September.  The meeting is being held at Halifax Town Hall, Crossley St, Halifax, HX1 1UJ

The Sainsbury’s application will be heard about 7pm.  Please try to be there by 6pm so there is a good throng outside the building before things start.

If you can’t make it until nearer 7 we think that’ll be ok.  We want you with us, please come along.


The Final Countdown has begun…

The planning meeting to discuss the application to build a  Sainsbury’s in Hebden Bridge will be held at Halifax Town Hall on Tuesday 16th September.

After a brief period when we thought the date would be in August, we’ve now had it confirmed (direct from the chair of the planning committee) that the actual date is 16th September.

We STILL need your support – everyone that turns up will help – its vital the council sees the overwhelming opposition that exists to this plan in Hebden Bridge.

Only one of us will be allowed to speak for 5 minutes. We hope that a large audience may influence some councillors to reject this application.

More details and travel information when we have a confirmed time.

The public and all written objectors will be formally informed on Tuesday 9th of September.
Please check the following links – we’ll keep you updated and informed: (article) (updates) (more)

If you like to dig deeper: 13/01542/FUL is the planning application number, simply enter it in the search box on the page
(There are over 30 documents connected with this application

8/8/14 – Green Party Leader, Natalie Bennett, supports SOS!!


Ralph Nimman of SOSHebdenBridge, with Natalie Bennett (middle) and Neti Blackwell

16/7/14 – Summer’s here, but we must remain ready for the committe date, when all-hands will be needed, both before and at the Town Hall in Halifax.

Our latest press release stirred-up the Hebden Bridge Times and we should feature soon. Here it is:

Press Release July 2014

Save Our Shops – Say No to Sainsbury’s

Update; Just as summer starts and we are all off on our holidays, Sainburys have finally submitted amendments to their planning application for the Old Fire Station site on Valley Road (Ref 13/01542/FUL) in Hebden Bridge. It has taken them more than 4 months to submit this information and now they are pushing for a speedy outcome.

Unforgivably, Sainsbury’s are refusing to do a Retail Impact Assessment, as requested by Calderdale Council; this would address the community’s concern over the increase in supermarket floor space within the town. This assessment is needed because the additional 450m2 of this store, added to the permission already granted for a 2,140m2  supermarket on the Browns site in Mytholm, means the town suddenly has 2,590sq.m extra retail space. A Retail impact assessment is required when there is over 2,500m2 .The whole floor area of the local Co-op is about 2,500m2. Can Hebden Bridge sustain this?

The concern is that this would cause our precious small shops – those that give the town its unique, vibrant quality, to struggle and then close.  There is a direct correspondence to the growth in supermarket activity and the decline of the British High streets. The BBC’s “Mary Queen Of Shops”, shopping expert Mary Portas, blamed supermarkets for “killing” Britain’s smaller shops and said “We’re sacrificing not just our greengrocers, our butchers and our bakers, but also our communities for convenience.” In a recent shop survey carried out by SOS Hebden Bridge, all of these local shop keepers we spoke to felt their businesses would be affected, as did most of those people asked. This is a real concern.

Added to this, Sainsburys have requested a devastating delivery routine. If the permission is granted we would be seeing an 11.2m long lorry delivering 7 times a day. The added problems a vehicle of this size would cause entering the town by the White Lion, turning over the bridge towards the town hall, where many pedestrians spill upon the street should not be underestimated. Turning up Valley road and parking opposite the colonnade of small shops. When exiting, it is proposed that 3 car parking spaces are lost on Regent Street to allow a turn back onto narrow Hangingroyd Lane, to leave the town again by the same route.

Watch this space for the date of the Committee Meeting where this will be discussed and decided. It will be on a Tuesday night at Calderdale Council in Halifax, but it has yet to be allocated a date. We hope you will come and support our campaign – SOS, Hebden Bridge.

Okestra Del Sol played a fantastic gig for us at the Trades on the 16th May, which was well attended and very much enjoyed by all… They really are quite brilliant, not just musically but also in their lively and witty stage extravaganza .
We launched the ‘Keep Hebden Funky’ campaign, which will be the ongoing educational scheme to make people more aware of how their shopping habits affect local businesses directly…. We will be looking to hold some open meeting for idea how this may happen in September.
We raised £????? After costs, so thank you to all that contributed. The money will be used towards the ongoing fight against the Sainsbury planning application and any future ‘Keep Funky’ projects.

Fund-raiser Gig featuring 

Orkestra del Sol  

at the Trades Club, Tuesday 13th May. 

Tickets are a total bargain at just £5, available via the Trades Club in person or from their website or (if we’ve got any left) on the door.  Doors open at 8pm and the Trades promise to keep the bar open until at least midnight – come along, dance your Socks off and help us raise funds for our campaign against the supermarkets, even though it’s a work day tomorrow…  More details when they arise…

Orkestra Del Sol

lastone31/3/14 – 537  Objections registered by deadline time – thanks for your efforts.  There were 542 comments altogether – 1 was neutral, 4 were in favour.  If we were living in a proper democracy there’d surely be no need to go further.  Unfortunately we still have to press our case in person to Calderdale’s Planning Committee at a date yet to be confirmed.   At this meeting we’ll need your support – its not just about this application – Sainsbury’s will undoubtedly re-apply for planning consent until they get it unless we show overwhelming opposition to their plan.  As soon as the date is announced we’ll let you know – keep checking back here, on Facebook – “Say NO to Sainsbury’s in Hebden Bridge” and on twitter  @SOSHebdenBridge or better still, sign up for updates on the panel to the left… we’ve got another battle to win yet…

SOSHB_int_town hall lores

12/2/14 – A day of ups and… well, actually mainly ups.  Half the core group went to Halifax to witness and hopefully influence the deliberations of the Alcohol licensing committee (this is us in the imposing Halifax Town Hall*).  Sainsbury’s had applied for an alcohol license and, unfortunately, it was granted.  We didn’t expect to ‘win’ this one as the grounds for objection are extremely narrow.  And so it was.  What we did discover is that if the Police or other health body had spoken up in either of their areas of expertise, the outcome might well have been different.  An in-depth report on the afternoon’s proceedings is on Jenny Shepherd’s excellent site – Upper Calder Vally Plain Speaker.  It is possible, having done some further research, that we may launch an appeal – we have 21 days to do this.  If anyone has any expertise in doing this, please get in touch.

Meanwhile, Dave’s ‘Letter to the Editor’ outlining the results of our recent price survey appeared in the Hebden Bridge Times today.  As you’ll see from the data, we’ve conclusively shown that the proposed Sainsbury’s will be more expensive than any of the competing shops in Hebden.  We also learned today from the solicitor representing Sainsbury’s alcohol application, that the company has a national pricing policy in two bands – the first being that for supermarkets and the second being for ‘Local’ stores.  This means that the prices in Hebden will definitely be the same as in Mytholmroyd.

Finally, it is just worth saying that the number of objections is now at 366 – this is really good, but not nearly enough to be comfortable.  SOS Hebden Bridge hope to get this up to over a 1,000.  We’ve got 10 days to go.  Have you objected to the planning permission yet?  If not please follow the link and make your voice heard.  SOS members will be in town this weekend with flyers, hoping to get more support – say ‘hello’ if you see us about.

*photo courtesy Upper Calder Valley Plain Speaker under creative commons sharealike-attribution-non commercial licence

7/2/14 – Its been a busy few days and the word is getting around.
One hundred and sixty seven objections to Sainsbury’s planning application against one in favour so far.  This is excellent and stunning, but we need this number to grow a lot more if we’re going to send a message to Calderdale council, and the rest of the World, that Hebden Bridge is not for sale.
There is some confusion as to when the last day for objections actually is – and we’ve been asking council officers for clarification.
The most likely date is 21st February, but there seems some chance that actually it’s next Wednesday (12th February) – so please, if you haven’t already, take a few minutes and object to the planning permission.
Also, we are going to Halifax Town Hall this Thursday (13th) to stand against Sainsbury’s application for an alcohol licence – if you can join us at 2pm
(or earlier outside for photos) – you’d be very welcome.

HangingRoyd1200HangingRoyd2200Yesterday (Thursday) we measured the available space in Hangingroyd (parallel to Valley Road) where Sainsbury’s 11m trucks (as mentioned in their own traffic report) would need to pass 5 times a day.


Checking the dimensions of these trucks we find that their width is 2.55m.
See for yourself if their self-assesment should be trusted in any way.

HangingRoyd5200Sainsbury’s say “It is considered there are no transport reasons why the planning application should not be approved”

Click pics to enlarge.

Read the  dubiously biased “Transport Report” submitted by Sainsbury’s HERE

30/1/14 – Basking in the afterglow of a sweet victory, but definitely not slacking, the team got straight to work today with a couple of mini-projects. Results have yet to be collated, but we dispersed to various shops around town to ‘price-check’ a representative basket in the Co-op, OneStop, Sainsbury’s Local in Mytholmroyd and the Market. We’ll also be comparing the prices that we find as best-buys throughout the town’s independent shops. Watch this space for details, but don’t stop let it get in the way of putting in your objections to the planning permission. We’ve also been out taking photos of the potential chaos that is the parking situation around the proposed site – a site that will itself reduce the local parking allocation by at least 40 parking spaces as well as bringing in more shoppers…


Those your cars mate? Sorry, they’ve got to go, we’re building a Sainsbury’s here… try Tod, parking’s much better there…


Any room for our 33-feet long delivery truck? Make way for progress…

29/1/14 Almost Caught Napping – today started well with a core group meeting which lasted all morning and allowed us to do some proper planning for the coming campaign. Posters will appear, flyers have been agreed upon, a bank account for donations will be arranged, the website is making us happy. Then, out of the blue, we find that the council is on a three-weekly rotation (you can tell we’re new at this game) and the Sainsbury’s planning application was going in front of the local council tonight. Oo-er. In four hours we put out the word, rallied the troops and wrote a speech. At 7.30 we mustered at the Town Hall – more of us than the first time, despite the very late notice, and by 8.30 we were out again. Dave was spokesperson tonight (his speech is here). Then the councillors spoke. Most were ‘against’, some very ‘against’, one was ‘for’. Some of Dave’s points were amplified by the council. The council have recommended that planning permission be rejected. Wa-hey! This isn’t the end, we still have most of the fight to go, but we now have two minor victories under our belt. We are advised to keep resisting, get many individual objections to the planning permission and take a horde of folks with us to Halifax in a few weeks (date to be confirmed) to resist the next and final stage of the process. Get in touch if you have ideas or want to help – we also need your email address so we can let you know what’s happening…

28/1/14 – Supporters will have noticed that Sainsbury’s have applied for Planning Permission without any thought or care for the Council’s invitation to hold a public consultation, clearly demostrating their indifference to both the opinion of the people and the word of our elected representatives. It seems to us that if Sainsbury’s care so little for Hebden, its people and businesses, is it sensible to assume that they’ll keep their construction work to a time when its not going to affect our only-just-recovered-after-the-floods tourist trade? Or can we expect them to block up a huge chunk of town during peak season, weakening the local trade even before they start. And even if they do the work next winter, how is the mess, the noise, the dust going to affect the market? And will they (really) give a thought to those market stalls that pack up and don’t come back? It seems fairly obvious that the more mess they make the easier the pickings will be once they set up. No market? Sainsbury’s sell more fresh food… No Marco’s? Sainsbury’s sell more coffee & pizza…
So even if the planning permission were to get the go-ahead, even those who are pro-supermarket would agree that the timescale for construction would have to be carefully planned. And wouldn’t January to Easter be the best option for our (for better-or-worse) tourist-dependent town?

And now…the fun stuff has arrived – one of our support team sent in a copy of the ‘Hebden’s Pain our Gainsbury’s’ letter. It made us chuckle. Lots. Have a look at it here. But don’t forget to fill in your objection to planning permission too.

24/1/14 -It’s been announced that Sainsbury’s have officially applied for planning permission for the old firestation site on Valley Road. They want to build a 2-storey supermarket with 2 apartments and 5 town houses as part of the development. The detail of their application can be seen on Calderdale Council’s website – the application reference is 13/01542/FUL. There’s not much detail there, but the site can also be used to object to the planning permission application. We’d like everyone to do just that – but please be aware there are few actual grounds for objection (in purely legal/council terms) so its vital that your objection contains at least one of these reasons. There’s 3 weeks to lodge your objection (exact date yet to be confirmed). Check out our resources for a little help with this… “Object to Sainsbury’s planning permission application

More blogs here

HBTfront23/1/14 – Rumour of an apology letter from Sainsbury’s is circulating – perhaps they’ve seen the error of their ways and decided to try their expansionist plans somewhere they are actually wanted..? We’ve not actually seen this letter and can’t comment – anyone have a copy?  Please get in touch so we can publish / agree / disagree etc.

22/1/14 – Today we’ve heard that the hearing for Sainsbury’s alcohol licence application has been postponed until Thursday 13th February (from 29/1/14).  Although it’s now too late to object to this application, its not too late to make your opinions known.  SOS (that’s us) will be at the meeting where some of us will expand on the written objections already lodged.  The general public will be allowed into the hearing, and it would be great if any of you (our supporters) could join us – the more folks seen to be against Sainsbury’s plan, the more likely we will win at the final planning permission hearing.  Its that simple.

16/1/14 – Front page headlines on the Hebden Bridge Times – good picture of our support at the Town Hall last week and an even-handed article which mostly represents both sides of the argument.  Some of the quotes, in true HBT style, have been mangled in curious & unnecessary ways (for instance – “and create 20 full- and part-time jobs” – instead of the actual words “and create up to 20 full- and part-time jobs”) but on balance we have to accept that newspapers get much of their revenue from big businesses buying advertising.  Curiously, if you search ‘Save Our Shops’ on the HBTimes website there are no results for our front page story at all. The full article is here

we say no to more supermarkets 300

9/1/14  – interviewed by the Hebden Bridge Times today (the giddy heights of celebrity so easily reached) so we can expect an article to appear next week. We probably won’t get away with the front page all to our modest cause, so in the interim we’ve made up a poster that you could cut-out-and-use if it was published by the HBT.  If you click on the image a PDF will be miraculously downloaded to your computer.  Stick it in your front window – show the world what Hebden bridge thinks about Supermarkets taking over our unique and individual town.  Thanks very much to Mike Barrett of frogsdesign for his input and permission to use his fine ‘Hebden Bridge’ font.  Still on the subject of thanks we’d like to also mention Paul Palmer of GreenISP who has donated the webspace we are using.  Local businesses supporting a local cause – nice one.

9/1/14 – So the campaign is off to a fantastic start.  Last night we gathered a fine bunch of folk at the town hall and really showed the local council that there’s a substantial number of people who want NO MORE SUPERMARKETS IN HEBDEN BRIDGE.  Thanks to all of you who turned out on (yet another) filthy winter’s night.


We counted 43 supporters at the door to the Town Hall before going inside – maybe more turned up.  We definitely packed out the main council chamber, Hilary Chadwick (our groups qualified architect) gave a five minute presentation to the council.  Text of Hilary’s speech is here…

For all enquiries, questions and offers of support please use the contact form (opposite & throughout the site)


Day Zero – 7/1/14 – Welcome.

We’re just getting to grips with building this website.  Stick with us as we get the engine started and begin to gather momentum.  Might need a bump-start though, so come out tomorrow (Wednesday 8th) and give us a push….

If you live in Hebden Bridge (or if you just love it and visit) you NotSoHBawill be affected in some way by the new and proposed Supermarkets. A few of us are concerned enough to be taking action and have formed ‘SOS – No More Supermarkets in Hebden Bridge’. The first thing we are doing to try to stop the march of evil is to make our presence felt tomorrow (Wednesday 8th Jan) outside the Town Hall in Hebden at 7pm, where the council will be starting the discussion about Sainsbury’s proposed new supermarket on the old firestation plot (now a car park) between the market and the doctors on Valley Road. We have a statement and a learned architect to be our spokesperson… we have flyers around town, a website almost-born (, and some good folk in the mix. What can you do to help? Please turn up tomorrow and swell the numbers – we hope to have the paper come to report and we want to show the councillors the strength of local feeling. Tell the folk you think will be our supporters, look out for public meetings and ask to join the group if you want to stop Hebden turning into a clone town.

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