Front Page Article, HBT – full text
By Aban Quaynor firstname.lastname@example.org 01422 260227
Sainsbury’s will soon submit its plans to move into the former Hebden Bridge Fire Station site amid protests from residents.
Last month site owners Eshton Gregory ltd. announced revised £1.5 million plans for the land on Valley Road for retail space – a Sainsbury’s Local store – five town houses and three apartments.
The owners had planning permission on the site for two commercial units comprising 318sq metres with nine apartments above and five town houses, but that lapsed on December 24, 2013, and the new proposals are due to be submitted imminently.
The news of the plans has angered residents who are concerned by the damage another supermarket could have on independent traders.
And last Wednesday more than 40 members of “SOS:No More Supermarkets in Hebden Bridge” protested outside Hebden Bridge Town Hall and raised their concerns during a meeting of Hebden Royd town Council.
Speaking after the meeting, group spokesperson Hilary Chadwick said: “Hebden Bridge is a unique and vibrant market town with an interesting and diverse range of independent shops. Another supermarket in Hebden Bridge would seriously jeopardise the business of those independent shops, and would have a significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre.”
Protestors had called on the town council to oppose the application – something the authority can not do even if members wanted to because an application is yet to be submitted – but councillors did vote to write to Sainsbury’s to request that a public meeting is called “where all local people can be consulted” and a full public consultation undertaken.
But Sainsbury’s has moved to allay fears over the size of its planned store and said that it would “complement the town” and create 20 full and part-time jobs.
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said “We believe a Sainsbury’s Local store would compliment the mix of independent shops in Hebden Bridge and provide local shoppers with additional choice. They are not full sized supermarkets and provide a convenient location for local residents to do their basket shop, topping up thei main weekly food shop. research tells us that a high proportion of customers travel to our Local stores on foot and we believe our proposals will have a minimal impact on traffic flow.
The spokesperson said Sainsbury’s had written to local residents and businesses asking for feedback and is keen to hear from the local community.
Sainsbury’s proposal was discussed at Tuesday’s meeting of Hebden Bridge Partnership where members outlined their own suggestions for the site which could involve “a mix of car parking, affordable housing, open space, small retail units and units for social service or other community use”.
Partnership chairman Bob Deacon said the ideas would be firmed up at a subsequent meeting of the HBP. Last year, Calderdale Council granted permission for a hotel and supermarket on the former Mytholm Works site, while One Stop (owned by Tesco) took over the former Spar shop on Crown Street and there is also a Co-op on Market Street.