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Brown's Site

From Joel B

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Finally, it appears something is going to be done with the old Brown's site, a hotel and small supermarket according to the Bridge Times. 100 jobs plus more to be created for local people according to the article, and also a self sufficent site with is own water turbine (whatever that is). Great news I say and finally get rid of that eyesore of wasteland.

From Benny M

Friday, 16 March 2012

Very interesting. I just hope the developers pay attension to the traditional Stubbing dip flooding problem. The site presently acts as a sponge soaking up a lot of water from the Mytholm hillside.

Also I hope particular attension is payed to traffic control measures on what is a notorious blind spot for speeding traffic approaching from Whitely Arches.We shall see!

From Ian M

Friday, 16 March 2012

Is it just my cynical mind or is there a huge coincidence in Sainsburys eleventh hour announcement they are to appeal the refusal of planning permission in Todmorden and this one a week later!

Why do I suspect gamesmanship here? Ok Calderdale Council, so you don't want us to build in Todmorden, well what about that derelict site in Hebden Bridge? You can't say no to both. I wonder!

From Jenny B

Friday, 16 March 2012

I for one, would be in favour of this plan.I am sure that those out of work will welcome the opportunity to have the opportunity to work in their local town.

Despite promises, the co-op has changed very little and we need a decent supermarket for those who prefer to shop out of town.

The site is a waste of land in an area where we can all be within a green space in minutes. There was a business on the land, so why not let new business come into the town?

Maybe the water turbine is to deal with the potential flooding?

From Bernard B

Friday, 16 March 2012

I think you'll find that self-sufficiency by means of water turbine is a bit of greenwash from the architect and will be quietly dropped long before the first air-freighted produce is available in the chiller cabinets.

From Kim D

Friday, 16 March 2012

Might be controversial, but I really do think we need a big supermarket chain to open in Hebden. I for one would spend a lot less time in my car burning fossil fuel so I can get to Tod or Halifax. Just saying.

From Lizzie W

Friday, 16 March 2012

If we must have a supermarket on this site, please please can it be a 'Booths' (see Andrew Hall's very sensible posts on this subject).

From David Telford

Saturday, 17 March 2012

I'm all for independent retailers or even small chains but isn't Booths quite expensive? The complaint against the Co-op is usually about the price, I'm not sure that going up in price is what the market in HB demands. Perhaps an Aldi would fit in well.

From Claire M

Saturday, 17 March 2012

I must be missing something here. In my view the last thing our town needs is a supermarket.

Which chain will it be i wonder - Tesco, Sainsburys?? We need to support our local bakers, butchers and greengrocers unless we want to become a clone town just like any other.

I agree they are trying really hard to win you over and it looks like theyre working. There is no 'conjestion' on Church ane due to school parking, just lazy parents who cant be bothered parking further down. The traffic comes from commuters taking a short cut up church lane along Bank Terrace and up over the tops to burnley, as do truck drivers. What us residents dont need around here are more flippin' truck deliveries getting stuck after following their sat navs!

The exhaust fumes from commuters are already overpowering on a morning i certainly dont think its healthy to increase that by what would be a considerable amount.

yes we need jobs but so does everywhere right now do we really have to sell out because thats what it feels like.

I personally think the council and local people should aim to turn the space into an electric car recharging station. Still jobs, better for the environment and much less noise pollution.

Yes its disused at present by humans but not by animals, deer and other animals frequent the mill water area daily. But this is besides the point.

I don't see how another hotel in Hebden is needed when current hotels and b and b's are not booked up to capacity.

From Paul D

Saturday, 17 March 2012

I'd prefer low cost housing but given that many local retailers appear to have turned their backs on local people I see much of the oppostion to this coming from those who think paying twice the price charged in Tod for everything, or driving to there or Burnley to shop is fine.

And the turbine would be an excellent idea if possible as it would end the need for all the sumps and pumps on the old plan.

Plus, if Calderdale made the Highways Agency drain it's road properly, there'd be no flooding there. The water flows up through the drains as soon as the river covers their outlets, not from the site onto the road.

And if the many selfish parents who block Church Lane get somewhere to park and Church Lane in turn gets yellow lines to make it safer, things are not all bad. Of course those living up the steeps or in Blackshaw all walk up and down. Their cars aren't part of the problem at all (they would have you think). Make it one way and get them to consider their lifestyle choices too. This proposal isn't ideal, or my preferred choice, but it creates jobs and solves a few local problems I suppose.

From Claire M

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Interesting Paul but I think you should first attempt to get to know the residents backgrounds who live up the Steeps such as my myself first before you assume the worst of us.

We have one car and we use this car because I am severely disabled . It is not a life style choice. As a family we would much prefer to use bikes and public transport but they are not realistic for us at this time.

No-one is suggesting we pay twice the prices of Tod.

A link to an example of an electric car charging station

From Jenny B

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Low cost housing would be great but its industrial land so lets look at what can be built that will be of benefit to many.

I see the plans are for a small supermarket, so maybe a Sainsburys local or a Booths would come in for it. I can't see that affecting local shops, those of us that would use it probably don't buy our bread from local bakers anyway. Mytholm Steeps has always been a short cut, having lived up Blackshaw I experienced it first hand. So quite how traffic up there would be increased by local people going to a supermarket in the valley bottom puzzles me. Deer etc will go quietly back to Saville and Eaves woods just as they did when Browns was operating as a factory so no great threat to wildlife there. Jobs - how can anyone say they are not needed locally? Unemployment is the highest for decades, yet anyone offering to provide local jobs for local people is the devil incarnate. What else is there? Oh the nimbies, who simply don't want change.

From David Telford

Sunday, 18 March 2012

I'm not sure a complaint about lorries is valid.

The site was a mill with lots of deliveries out of the mill and ideally we'd have loads of their modern equivalent in every town creating employment and wonderful money for the entrepreneurs.

From Myra James

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Not entirely sure what I think about the latest proposal for Brown's. If there is demand for another 50 hotel bedrooms (and presumably someone thinks there is or they wouldn't propose it) I don't opppose the idea.

The supermarket is worrying though. It is described as "small-scale". I think I could support a convenience store but not anything much bigger, for all the reasons done to death previously in this forum. In any case, I suspect that the "small-scale" store would probably grow bigger a few years down the line.

The waterwheel is greenwash and the school parking a typical sweeetener. Paul, the A646 is now in the hands of Calderdale Council not the Highways Agency, so I assume Calderdale needs to sort out the drainage problems. I don't share the view expressed by some that something "needs" to be done with this site. Why? It does no harm left as it is and provides a home for wildlife.

From Susi Harris

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Given that the UK is now the second most obese nation in the Western World wouldn't it be better to see these out of town sites given over to sporting facilities so our children can get some much needed exercise, rather than modelling the unhealthy behaviours of constant shopping and eating? The height of the hill behind the site could lend itself to a ski slope, or a climbing wall, whilst the watery nature of the land below surely suggests some sort of swimming/canoeing/raftbuilding sorts of activity? (and a sauna for afterwards!)

The irony of this plan is that tourists come to Hebden Bridge to shop in the small local shops, and the supermarket will close them down, so there will be no call for the hotel any more!

From Myra James

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Well said Susi. Every time I've objected to a proposal for this site I've said that I'd like to see a leisure centre there, which could be a location at last for the ill-fated Hebden Bridge swimming pool. Perhaps leisure facilities could be included in the hotel. As for the supermarkets, much as I'd hate to see Tesco or Sainsbury's there I fear that Booth's could be even more damaging to our independent local shops as it would be competing for the same kind of market.

From John Rhodes

Monday, 19 March 2012

Before everyone leaps aboard the passing supermarket trolley here's an article from a campaigning web-site which I urge you to consider.

Supermarkets claim that when they come to town they bring choice, cheap food, development and jobs. But as many communities know only too well, the reality is different.

Supermarkets erode local choice as smaller, independent shops struggle to compete. Between 1997 and 2002 more than 13,000 specialist stores around the UK closed. Now the small independents' share of the grocery market has fallen to just 6 per cent, while the multiples' share has increased to 88 per cent. A report from Manchester Metropolitan University suggests that at the current rate of demise, there will be no independent retailers left by 2050, and a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group predicts that many will have ceased trading by 2015. A report by the Competition Commission found that the loss of local, independent shops can have serious impacts in terms of access to food, particularly for people on lower incomes or those who don't have use of a car.

Supermarkets siphon money away from local communities and towards shareholders and distant corporations. A study by nef (the new economics foundation) found that £1 spent in a local shop selling local produce puts twice as much money back into the local economy as £1 spent in a supermarket. An analysis of procurement spending conducted by Northumberland County Council with NEF has shown that £1 spent with local suppliers is worth £1.76 to the local economy, while £1 spent with suppliers out of the area is worth only £0.36. A Friends of the Earth study of local food schemes found that on average just over half of business turnover was returned to the local economy – compared to as little as five per cent for supermarkets.

Supermarkets increase traffic and congestion. The distribution systems used by supermarkets and the location of out of town stores generate large amounts of traffic. Work for the Government in 2006 suggested that car use for shopping results in costs to society of more than £3.5 billion per year, from traffic emissions, noise, accidents, congestion and accidents.

Supermarkets destroy local jobs. Supermarket claims that new stores bring in jobs fail to consider the wider picture of independent retailer bankruptcies. A 1998 study by the National Retailer Planning Forum (NRPF) examining the employment impacts of 93 superstore openings between 1991 and 1994 found that they resulted in a net loss of more than 25,000 jobs or 276 per store opened. More information on the impact of supermarkets on jobs is available in Chapter 13 of the Competition Commission report on the power of the supermarkets.
Supermarkets generate waste and over-package. Packaging now makes up nearly a quarter of household waste, and 35-40% of household waste ending up in landfill begins as a purchase from one of the 5 big supermarkets.

Supermarkets exploit suppliers and damage the environment. Supermarkets use their market dominance to exploit suppliers and farmers and drive down prices, sometimes below the cost of production, thus ensuring that environmentally damaging practices are continued both in the UK and overseas.

And here's an article (slightly tidied up by me) from that leftie site the MailOnline.

Claims by the big supermarkets to be driving economic growth by creating thousands of jobs have been exposed as a sham. Supermarket bosses have used the claims as their major weapon to push through hundreds of controversial planning applications for more stores. The boasts have also allowed them to stand alongside Prime Minister David Cameron to be hailed as job creation heroes.

However, figures from their own annual reports reveal that the number of full-time jobs offered by Tesco and Sainsbury's has actually fallen over the past two years. It means virtually every announcement boasting of their creation of thousands of jobs is matched by cuts in other areas.
While the supermarket giants are building vast stores and extending others, staff numbers are not growing to match the extra sales space, figures also reveal. But the true impact on jobs is even worse than this, argues the Association of Convenience Stores. The body, which highlighted the double-dealing, argues the building of new supermarkets is killing off existing small stores in many town centres, and in doing so putting many people out of work.

Annual reports produced by Sainsbury's for shareholders identified 148,500 jobs in 2009. However, this fell to 146,900 – or 1,600 fewer – in 2010. The figure appears to be at odds with the claims of chief executive Justin King, who in the 2010 annual report highlighted the creation of 6,500 jobs following the building of 100 stores.

Tesco's figures show an increase of just 874 jobs between 2009 and 2010, taking its total to 287,266. The net result, after adding the figures for the two grocery giants together, is a reduction of 726. This drop in employee numbers came despite the fact that, at the same time, the two supermarket chains increased the amount of sales space between them by a whopping 2.85  million square feet.

So, let's be clear that building a supermarket on the Brown's site will place our remaining small food sellers under huge pressure.

The basic problem here is not a developer meeting any real local need (although I accept that some people may want a supermarket) but a developer desperately trying to recoup the inflated price they paid for the site at the height of the property boom.

It's unfortunate that the Environment Agency didn't identify the flood risk first time round because it is a flood plain and always has been prone to flooding. Paul D says, "...if Calderdale made the Highways Agency drain it's road properly, there'd be no flooding there. The water flows up through the drains as soon as the river covers their outlets, not from the site onto the road." This is to misunderstand what a flood plain is.

An area flooded by a river when the river is in spate is doing what a flood plain is supposed to do as is clear from what happened to the playing fields down at Brearley. The road gets flooded regularly not because the drains are necessarily blocked (although if they are it's because the river is high and the water cannot drain into the river). The issue is the amount of water coming down the hill coupled with the amount of water in the river and the fact that the road dips at that point. There is only a "problem" because we insist on building on and too near to flood plains.

On the basis that it has to be developed then low density social housing with an associated development for older people (they run fewer cars) would seem to be the best way forward. Alternatively, we could dig up the remaining concrete, grass it and turn it into sports fields of which there is a severe shortage. And those of you with younger kids playing junior football will appreciate that. But that's unlikely to happen as the ConDems hack back the public sector and we all remain victims of a planning system that is anything about planning.

And as for our need for a hotel that's simply laughable given the number of empty beds every night in the existing hotels. I understand Moyles is now for sale so if someone wants to get into that business they can buy one off the supermarket shelf.

From David Telford

Monday, 19 March 2012

THere have been some interesting ideas for the site. In the spirit of enterprise, the answer must be that should ther be a demand for say, a gym and pool complies, perhaps the thing to do is write a business plan, create a strategy or perhaps seek a partner in one of the big players in the lesure market.

I'm not a fan of big supermarkets creating a bland homgenous choice but we as individuals must be active in following our own ideas through.

Sure it's a risk, we may have to remortgage our houses but if we believe there is a market for an alternative to a supermarket on the site, it's time to put our money where our mouth is.


From Dave R

Monday, 19 March 2012

Ah but John, I could dig just as deeply if I had the time, and find lots of pro-arguments for a supermarket.

Yes generally these are in the main put out by spin doctors in the trade, but many of the anti-supermarket are put out in the public domain by those old Nimbies amongst us. And in my opinion Hebden Bridge has more than enough of those.

I have more sympathy for the arguments that we need sports areas; social housing and the like than those that say we don't need a supermarket.

You only have to see the number of superstore home delivery vans passing through to accept that we don't all shop locally and we would like a decent supermarket. Brown's is industrial land. I would prefer the proposed plans than those for say a meat/fish processing plant, or a drive-thru burger place, wouldn't you?

Given a bit of tweaking, I will certainly support the present plans.

From Paul D

Monday, 19 March 2012

The case John makes is well put, but would have more merit if it were not based on studies of the impact of superstores, or large supermarkets, when neither of these options is being proposed. Many of the negative impacts asserted are therefore not always valid, although there would one suspect be some impact on existing retailers.

The current diversity of local provision is also a little rose tinted. The market was once on Market Street and Bridge Lanes once had chemists, newsagents, grocers, you name it on it until our authority decided to demolish half of it without surveying the land beneath first. This claim for retail diversity glosses over historical and national trends and locally the proliferation of shops appealing first and foremost to day trippers. Add to this the need for many (poorer) people to leave town to shop and a lot of the case against crumbles.

The original flood plain is quite a few metres below the exisitng site, the two rivers that join at Mytholm essentially run in culverts and have done since the industrial revolution. Engineering has always controlled or failed to control the rivers there, so this site represents no change there.

The flooding is as much about poor land management as to do with the site, some of the former agricultural land on the upper shelf and valley sides has been sold to those with no agricultural interest or ability. Old watercourses have been left abandoned and blocked, surface water is indeed the problem, flowing off poorly cared for land into poorly managed drains and blocking the roads. The recent report on the flood plain places most of the west of the town, the town centre and a lot of the upper valley at risk. There's nothing in it about people buying land and leaving the field drains to collapse. Or people buying former farmhouses and having no respect for the intricate watercourse responsibilities that come with that. It's a bit like arguing that nobody should build on one plot because all around it others manage their own plots badly. Land in the valley bottom is often picking up and showing up the very poor water mismanagement above, it's the sympton of a problem not the cause.

Technically, if we reinstated the flood plain and took the river out of culverts, then Hebden Bridge would be underwater every winter, perhaps we should base all our planning decisions on the old flood plains and just abondon it to nature? Or perhaps we should see the flood risk for what it is and engineer solutions to it? The extent of the flood plain is dictated by the here and now, the here and now is largely broken is my argument. Here we have a chance to see if a water turbine and reinstating some of the water mangemen that goes with that could provide a solution to a worsening problem. I don't think that's greenwash I think it's inspired, given the watercourse infrastructure lying half derelict all around us.

So on water or local retail diversity there are I think issues to address, but those opposed need to do their homework if their plan is to stop the development. I am also interested in the point about entrepeneurs, what would the reaction be if something much more 'interesting' were proposed, for the site, like the foundry that was there before? Many successful businesses soon outgrow the town taking jobs with them, so we do need to be alert to the need to promote and protect local industry (and agriculture) and not be too distracted by the vagaries of tourism.


From Myra James

Monday, 19 March 2012

I'm still trying to find my way through all the ideas and arguments here. A number of people maintain with some certainty that there is no market for 50 new hotel bedrooms. If that is the case, are we then to assume that the hotel proposal is no more than a sideshow, much like the watermill and the school parking, and that what we are facing here is a supermarket proposal, pure and simple? What are we to make of its "small scale"? If the hotel fails to materialise, won't the supermarket soon seek to expand?

The one thing of which I am convinced is that a supermarket of any appreciable size will be bad, both for the immediate environs because of the traffic it will generate, and for Hebden Bridge as a whole because of its impact on other retailers.

By the way, we are told that the planned retail space is 11,000 square feet. Can someone please translate that into something understandable? Larger or smaller than the Co-op?

From David Mack

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Using this area measuring tool overall area of the existing Co-op building is about 955 square meters, or 10,300 square feet. If the proposed new supermarket has a retail area of 11,000 square feet (plus the back-of-house areas), then it will be somewhat larger than the Co-op.

From Dave R

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Thanks for the update re the size of the site. Somewhat larger than the Co-op, but nowhere near the size of the nearest Tesco then?

A 50 room hotel, assuming it could be of the Premier Inn 4 or 5 storey type, would not be over large either. Hopefully, the area could also include some green spaces and landscaping too?

I still haven't gone off the idea, pending anyone offering to build open air tennis courts, a swimming pool or the like of course.

From John Rhodes

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Rather odd that we're all discussing a planning application that hasn't yet been received by the Council. So far, a front page spread in the HB Times and I understand that Belmont, or their agents, tried to lobby the last HB Town Council meeting but were not allowed to do so.

However, as they paid top dollar for the site they are not going to go away...and neither are they going to want to build a public utility such as a pool, leisure centre, old folks' home, football pitch or whatever because there simply isn't a profit in it. Until and unless the Council make it clear that nothing is going to be built on a flood-plain this one will run and run.

From Matthew Davies

Thursday, 22 March 2012

I think we have to be realistic; the majority of people drive to neighbouring Tod to their weekly shop, surely a modest supermarket will prevent leakage from the town? I'm just glad they haven't tried to put a Tod size Sainsbury's on the whole site. If the store is only marginally bigger than the Co-op it should be welcomed as it is likely to stop future large-scale development in the town as there won't be the capacity.

With regards to the water wheel, I did a bit of research; according to the blurb, there's a 15' head of water on the site - that is potentially a huge earner for the developer so I think it may be one of those rare occasions where capitalisation actually benefits a community!

Lets hope it's a Morrisons or a Booths - the co-op's had a monopoly long enough as far as I'm concerned!


From Hayley Renshaw

Friday, 23 March 2012

I agree with Matthew. We're the only town in the valley without a supermarket, how much trade is being lost to neighbouring Tod?! I think we're burying our heads in the sand if we believe that at some point theres not going to be a supermarket in HB.

If a modest quality store using local produce and creating jobs for local people is put forward I will definitely be supporting it, particularly if the alternative is a hyper-sized Tesco 5 years down the line, a Morrisons for me, the only trade that would harm is the over priced/under stocked Co-op, it's supermarket versus supermarket not supermarket versus local shops. At the end of the day if people want to support local businesses they will, irrespective.

From Dave R

Friday, 23 March 2012

I agree that far from the possibility of a small supermarket damaging trade for small shops, it is purely a matter of choice or principle for most people where they shop. Currently we don't have that choice and many people in the town. would in fact, like to have it.

I can't see that a moderately sized 'edge of town' supermarket would take away much from town centre trade. The fact is that a minority of the local shops are specialist e.g. bakers; butchers or wholefoods, and the majority are shops aimed at the tourist market and/or as luxury gift shops for the rest of us.

Whilst it is good to have lots of these little shops, as it keeps the town vibrant and alive, during the weekends, when the tourist trade is dominant in town. the 'basics stores' are actually closed, including somewhat surprisingly even Waites, which I assume was a decision based on trading figures. Which means for example, if I want a loaf of bread or meat at the weekend and the farmers market isn't on (the one whereby the term local produce is used rather loosely too), then its the co-op or drive on to Todmorden.

Most people do a largish weekly shop and for those with no transport the co-op may well remain their shop of choice.

Judging by the number of people from Hebden that I see in the Todmorden Morrisons, and the steady plethora of supermarket delivery vans through the valley, many of us choose to shop outside of town.
I think this is the clearly valuable market that a new local store would attract. This could reduce the carbon emissions, create local jobs, clear an 'eyesore' and stop the town from dying.

I am sure that there will be some equally perceived as valid by them and/or the pro development lobby, arguments to oppose all of my points, and therein lies the issue.

It really is all a matter of choice.

I would hope that the planners carry out a full survey of people's opinions in order to ascertain the majority views. Rather than as is often the case, listening only to those who shout the loudest or pertain to have the most valid evidence on which to base their objections on.

From Myra James

Friday, 23 March 2012

I must correct my remark earlier that the waterwheel proposal is greenwash - I am told that there is real potential for generation of significant amounts of electricity. So, whatever development comes to pass there I hope that is included. I also hope that any development includes measures to improve the road and in particular to re-align it to provide a pavement next to the river where there currently is none. "Eyesores", presumably, are in the eye of the beholder. I live nearby and pass the site almost every day; while one could hardly describe it as beautiful I think "eyesore" is a bit strong.

From Bob Deacon

Monday, 26 March 2012

Can I add my observations as someone who has moved into Hebden Bridge (from near York) within the last month. What sold HB to me apart from the local cinema, Trades Club, pubs, walks and its cooperative spirit was the fact that I could walk to the bakers, the veg shop, the paper shop, the butchers (two!), the hardware shop and the weekly market and get everything I needed.

Before I heard about the possible supermarket my fear was actually that these excellent local shops would be bought out by tourist-orientated shops and cafes and soon be gone. For now the balance of useful local shops to coffee shops and trinket shops just about works. Any further erosion of the useful shops and the place would be far less worth living in.

So the question is would a small scale Booths type supermarket tip the balance. The answer is I/we dont know. A survey is needed of the users of Waites, Holts, the butchers etc to see who they are and if they would change their habits. At the same time someone from the council needs to talk with these local shops about how they see their viability in the light of both tourists and a possible supermarket. A HB town centre conservation plan is needed not just of buildings but of their very specific use.

Let me be clear I am totally against any huge supermarket for all the reasons others have drawn attention to. It seems we are not faced with that. IF we could be reassured about the future of the useful town centre shops and this development plan, for which there is clearly some support, goes ahead then a deal needs to be struck with the developers that the hotel pool is a shared use with access by residents as if it were a council service and that some nice gardens/allotments are created.

From David Telford

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Bob Deacon, It's difficult to demand a hotel should provide it's pool facilities to the public as you could be limiting the type of potential hotels. There are two major hotel chains that use their pool and gym facilities as a significant income stream over and above being a hotel, they are the Village chain and Britannia hotels and I'd think both would require a membershp programme rather than offering casual swimming. Also, it would surely cost the council a significant amount of money to put in place their own facilities so surely it would not be unreasonable for the hotel chain to demand some moeny fro the council to open their doors to non-hotel residents / members.

The site has been unused for some time. It's not really the time to pile costs onto a business that in the main can only be positive for the area.

As for supermarkets, I'd be concerned if a large supermarket was given the go ahead. I think an Aldi / Lidl / Netto sized store would be more appropraite and not damage the balance of the town centre.


From Andy M

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

French small towns seem to manage to have small, well stocked supermarkets - now there's a thought! - and individual food shops. This probably reflects their overall greater interest in good/fresh food but that could indicate that it might just work here too. A small 'Booths/Waitrose' type supermarket would put some pressure on local shops but could perhaps, more significantly, take trade away from the Halifax/Tod ones . . . which might balance it out.

From J Greenwood

Sunday, 1 April 2012

I have to agree with Claire M Saturday, 17 March 2012

Who really wants a supermarket? Hebden is quirky and needs to be supported. As for the Co-op, yes I agree, totally lacking in proper management and that should be challenged. We have major supermarkets in Sowerby Bridge, Halifax and Todmorden. Hebden doesn't need it.

I fully support the idea of leisure facilities which have been lacking locally for some time - whatever happened to the swimming pool we were promised along with the new community centre? This would hopefully have the desired attraction to the number of people who seem to lack direction other than into the Calder Holmes Park with their alcohol, only to be so unbelievably lazy that they cannot even deposit the empty bottles/ cans into the numerous bins available. I regularly witness certain undesirable totally disrespectful people who smash their bottles on to the floor where children are present and animals play. I think this is another discussion thread however!!

From David T

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

As someone who was savaged over daring to suggest that the Todmorden Marina scheme was nothing more than fanciful and that I'd welcome a Sainsbury's, I have no problem with them moving onto the derelict site. I still believe that ideas for a new hotel are still a little far-fetched, and I'm afraid that, with the present economy and local Government being savaged by Westminster, the prospects for a leisure centre are bleak.

How about a Sainsbury's garage with a small supermarket?

I strongly believe that both the Co-op and Morrisons suffer from woeful management and Morrisons in particular offers little in the way of a good shopping experience. Queues at the tills are a matter of course, and the concept of the self-service tills is completely misunderstood, with bags that don't open and staff that regard offering help as being an alien concept.

From Sophie E

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

I would like to say I am fully opposed to the building of a supermarket on Brown's site and think it would create a town with shops that only responded to tourism and not the diverse needs required by the local community.

Interesting that the last post in stating their support for a supermarket also gave a comprehensive list of what's wrong with most supermarkets!

"I strongly believe that both the Co-op and Morrisons suffer from woeful management and Morrisons in particular offers little in the way of a good shopping experience. Queues at the tills are a matter of course, and the concept of the self-service tills is completely misunderstood, with bags that don't open and staff that regard offering help as being an alien concept."

I can live without visiting supermarkets (except on occasional the co op) and think we are really lucky to have a town full of proper shops. We have a market that is loads cheaper than the supermarket, excellent butchers, a good veg shop, wholefood shops, bakeries and flower shops to name a few.

I don't think a supermarket should be allowed to ruin our town, for the sake of those insist on using them and can't be bothered to use the existing ones.

Let's get behind some excellent intelligent design ideas, some sustainable affordable housing or small business units/studios/independent shops (designed to avoid the chance of flooding) that would add to our town and could become a national example of design excellence. There could be a large car park to accommodate visitors to our town as part of the planning condition, etc.

I hope the council is brave enough to fend off these huge companies that will give nothing to this great town.

From Andy M

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Nice idea Sophie but what would these extra 'small, independent shops sell?

From Jenny B

Friday, 6 April 2012

I didn't think this thread was a debate about what we would like to see on the site, as that one has been done to death on here. Whilst this debate was about members views on the proposed plans for a hotel and small supermarket. What I find interesting is this insistence that Hebden is a town of great little shops per se.

There are the perpetual comments that we can get all we need here.
Yes its great to have butchers, but we only have one greengrocer, the market traders aren't all local businesses.

My mum tells me and I can recall some myself - that we used to have 4 or 5 butchers, 3 bakers, at least 3 greengrocers; paper shops; post offices; photographers; electrical; hardware; chemists; sweet shops; tobaccanists; jewellers; toy shops; paint shops; shoe shop; adults and kids' clothes shops (Marian Mitchell and Leicester House) and several corner shop/convenience stores such as Jacks at the bottom of Heptonstall Road and Mrs Breeze's on Bridge lanes. (phew)

So yes we were a town of great little shops.

As for Sophie's comment of: "I don't think a supermarket should be allowed to ruin our town, for the sake of those who insist on using them and can't be bothered to use the existing ones" I would like to ask which shops does she feel sell 'everything' we need at an affordable price?
Not many people 'can't be bothered' to shop locally. We dont all have the time for one; 2. money comes into it and 3, We prefer more choice.

To propose more units/ stalls/ exhibitions making stuff for the wealthy or tourists to buy won't help our town. A strong business that offers, shopping choice; jobs; beds for tourists and use of waste land will.

From Joel B

Monday, 9 April 2012

Well said Jenny B, my mum has also been in hebden all her life and has also told me about all the shops there used to be, I can remember quite a few as a nipper but times change.

I can honestly say I very rarely use the local shops in Hebden, my wife and I are both from Hebden, we both work full time, and buy everything we need from the supermarket, for pure convenience. We don't have the time to wander down and pick meat from the butchers, fruit and veg from the greengrocers. I'll always manage to get a pack of fags and a 4 pack from the Spar though !!

I really can't see this proposed venture affecting local businesses at all. From the above responses it seems to me that the folk that do use the local shops for their produce will continue to do so, the tourists won't come to look round a supermarket, they'll continue to use the local shops, and folk like myself will continue to use a supermarket, if its closer to home, then even better.

From Karen H

Monday, 9 April 2012

I might have misinterpreted it, but surely Sophie's point about supermarkets has been backed up by the later post bemoaning the loss of various shops. I reckon that the list of butcher baker candlestick maker would be much longer, still, without the likes of Tesco, Morrisons etc on our doorstep.

And as for the familiar cry of we can't all afford independent shops, that's rubbish, supermarkets are not cheap, they just lure poor people in with fake offers and the odd loss leader.

From Jenny B

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

I don't believe that the demise of the' butchers; bakers and candlestick-makers' can not be attributed to supermarkets. My persepective of it is that here in Hebden, we did used to have a smallish supermarket (Greenwoods) which opened in the early 70's and still managed to have all of the small traders.

The influx of the commuter generation saw the first decline. People moved to Hebden Bridge to live but worked in the cities. They had cars to commute (rail links were not brilliant), they had little time to browse our local shops then, and because they had cars they shopped on their way home from work, either in the town they worked, or at a supermarket on the way home. You have to remember that neither Todmorden or Halifax had many superstores. Asda up Battinson Road was the first and a Kwik save up Gibbet Street followed. Todmorden didnt have any.
The onset of tourism meant that people who came to Hebden wanted a souvenir or to spend their day trip cash. We had the Innovation for gifts but that was all.

Tourists didnt want or need to buy a metre of cable or get their shoes soled whilst they were here. Commuter residents were only in the town on Saturdays (Sunday opening was a way off), and the small shops couldnt survive.

Slowly we got a glut of gift shops, cafes and pubs began to sell food as well as beer.

This continued until the people that chose to move to Hebden were those with a different ethos; they in the majority have one worker and one homemaker with time to shop, make/grow their own produce, they are more likely to commute by train and not have a car or car share. They prefer organic foods and wished to reduce their carbon footprints. So again the town adapted to meet the needs and opened the type of stores that were wanted/needed. However, great some feel that these shops are, they have never replaced the 'proper shops' that were lost in the 70/80's. You simply can no longer buy all the things you need in our town.

I think that JoelB makes a clear point in that for many of us who juggle work, childcare, travel, and shopping between them, to shop in this way is a luxury that costs more in time than money.

I have never adhered to the arguments that supermarkets are naturally cheaper, simply that they offer choice for those who want that. The issue is that many of the shops in Hebden do sell produce that is more expensive than supermarkets, because it is organic/ free range/ free trade and the like.

I cannot remember the last time I visited HB market, simply because it's on a Thursday. If it opened on a Saturday, I likely would. The butchers close Saturday lunchtime. Whilst I don't buy my meat from a supermarket, I have to buy it in the town in which I work because the butchers are closed when I get home.

The fact is that those of us who do use supermarkets use them for convenience.

We may as well spend our money locally and give local people the opportunity of jobs than spend it out of town. it will for many just be a shorter journey for the weekly shop and more time for us to spend with our families. Is that so bad? in my view, to propose a development of even more of the type of shops that we have, would be more likely to result in seeing some existing ones close.

From Callis Permaculture

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

We sewed a tipi and tent while another lad fixed up his boat in those barrell top sheds. It was even in the end days a useful space, and whoever paid someone to remove them and the 'weight and feather' balance should be spanked.

However what is needed is solar panels on the green roof and hydro electric if approprite power generation, an even more Booths than Booths 'boutique' (I love that word) 'supermarket' selling fresh produce grown in on - site biomass heated aquaponic politunnels (and I'm talking bananas and caviar here) recycling the waste from the compost toilets with added nutrients from the on-site sustainable firewood and coppicing business. A storage space for props and processing equipment for smal scale brewing and juicing enterprises. Biomass will also heat the leisure facilities - hot tubs and a green gym (the only weights you'll be lifting are in the wheelbarrows), attached to the eco-lodge built from local sustainable sources. The planners, accountants, architects, fundraisers all get in on the act and the jobs a goodun'. Now that should keep the good people of Hebden busy for a few months after they've finished the new 'Meccano' town hall (I'm looking forward to my hot desk). Any questions just post. I'm off on holiday for 6 months. Caiao.

From Andy M

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Jenny; what 'proper' shops are we missing? At the last count we still had: grocers, butchers, bakers, hardware/ ironmongers, bookshops, newsagents, haberdashers, hairdressers, shoe shops, record shops, kitchen-ware, clothes shops as well as the gift shops and cafes.

In fact we have a lot of 'niche' shops selling useful goods that increasingly don't exist elsewhere. It's the food shops that are probably most at risk of an additional supermarket

From Dave R

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

I am liking the Callis proposals very much.

AndyM - what we don't have isn't really an issue to me, as I never knew what Hebden used to have, and I am a relative newcomer still but....I would say it sounds like it genuinely was a town of great little independent retailers that did sell most of stuff we need, rather than the current gift shops and hairdressers we have a glut of (and that some will propose that we have more of on the Brown's site) selling pretty stuff we like but don't need.

Sadly, as someone has pointed out, the point is that plans are proposed for a hotel and supermarket and it has not been thrown open for us to argue what we want - yet.

From Andy M

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Dave: Presumably the number of hairdressers reflects local demand? I'm fairly sure that hirsute day-trippers aren't flocking into Hebden for their weekly trim! And as for catering for day-trippers - long may that continue as well as the list of small shops I listed.

From Ian M

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Im afraid arguing for what you want on the site is a complete waste of time if the comments of Anne Markwell,with regard to Sainsbury in Tod, are to be be believed!

Apparently 4000 signatures against on a petition have "very little meaning" and "you can have hundreds of objectors to a scheme but that doesnt mean an application should be refused!"

From Dave R

Friday, 13 April 2012

Four thousand people may object to the use of the colour orange in the Sainsbury's sign. I'm sure we all know it's more than just a numbers game.

From Tim M

Friday, 13 April 2012

There are a couple of things not really touched on in the comments - firstly that this is really an out of town location - no one is going to walk to this supermarket, so there will be few benefits to town centre shops - and if it leads to the closure of the Co-op, which it may, given the co-op's record on closing rather than competing (see Tod Co-op...) will result in leakage of local trade from the centre - if I pop into the Co-op for something and they don't have it, I'll pop to Valley Organics say, or the newsagents, or...

Sowerby Bridge Tesco occupies a site actually closer to the twon centre than the Brown's site is to HB's - how many people cut across the car park to Sowerby's struggling independents?

Additionally this location will result in increased traffic on the 646 - queues of cars turning in, more peope doing u-turns in church lane.

As for the jobs - this land is marked as an employment site. I believe the previous mixed use application included offices. The effect supermarkets have on local job losses is unfortunately well documented - frankly there aren't really 'pro-supermarket' arguments that stack up around jobs, unless perhaps the opening of a small store in an area of 'food poverty', which isn't being proposed here.

Let's also think about the upper valley as a whole - yes people do their supermarket shopping in Tod - indeed we buy our groceries there (Tod market and Lidl's) - in effect the valley does function as a continous settlement in a lot of ways - and I believe there will be an impact on Tod shops and market too, especially if we also have Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury's.

Finally, and it's been well touched on, this is the last large, level site in Hebden - is a chain hotel and supermarket the best use of this? We need to insist on something higher quality, perhaps including some of the facilities others have talked about. Supermarkets in other towns have been sweetened with all manner of goodies (from investment in town centre landscapeing to new football stadiums). I'm not sure we'll be getting the best deal if all we get is some parking for school drop off (and let's face it, people will still park on Church lane, Eaves as it's actually by the school) plus some questionable greenwashing and a hotel which may or not get built.

So... if we have to have a supermarket, we want a swimming pool too!

What does Hebden need more than a supermarket? Affordable housing? Leisure facilities? Offices?

But, I'm still very much opposed.

From David Telford

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Whilst there are some interesting proposals, nobody seems to be prepared to put their money where there mouth is.

Any objection to the proposals will need to be a little more substantial than a simple we don't want it, the Market will say if the punter wants it or not.

From Hannah T

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Community Discussion 25th April 6.30pm Holme Street Arts Centre.

I live local to the Brown's site. I'm organising a Community Discussion on Wednesday 25th April, 6.30-10pm (prompt start) at Holme Street Arts Centre (below the Trades Club) to discuss how we want the Brown's site to be used, and what we're going to do to make that happen.

Writing online can be a really useful way to get a sense of each other's opinions - meeting face to face can be a very useful way to kickstart us into action.

Whoever comes to the meeting will set the agenda in a tried-and-tested process where participants get to have the discussions they are most passionate about. There won't be any keynote speakers, or panel discussion - this is a chance for members of the community to get together and talk face to face.

I imagine some of the issues already discussed on this forum will come up, and others.

Together we can create the future we want to see.

See you there!

Wednesday 25th April, Holme Street Arts Centre (below Trades Club) Arrive prompt for a 6.30 start. The meeting will end by 10pm.

From Susi Harris

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Many thanks for organising meeting. Will do my best to be there. In meantime.....

Swimming pool funding ideas!

Energy Share: Mid Argyll Community Pool

Guidance for community owned and managed swimming pools

Sport England

From Kate C

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Surely the first swimming pool funding idea is to find out what happened to the last lot of swimming pool funding...

From Andrew B

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

It's ok for people to have their own opinions on how the site should be used, when in reality it's down to whoever owns the site, whoever wants to put money in to the site, and CMBC.

I also note that there is a high number of posts on here opposing plans for a supermarket/hotel etc, that's fine and have your opinion but others beliueve (rightly so, in my opinion) that a supermarket would be a great addition, we will never all agree.

Only time will tell what the site will become, whatever happens I hope that the Business(es) are successful.

I won't be attending tomorrow's meeting because it is absolutely pointless in people in favour of a supermarket turning up to face a large group of those against, and I have spoken to others who feel the same- so this meeting is in no way going to be representative of the people of the area, just a few that fancy kicking up a fuss and opposing any non-independent business coming into the area.

Anyway I suppose it'll fill a gap in the Bridge rag next week!

From Roger N

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

It's a lovely idea, Hannah, and I wish you well.

The problem is that this site is not owned by the community, it's owned by property developers. And those developers will want to to maximise their return on investment. At this stage there are rumours that they want to build a hotel and supermarket on the site, but to date, nothing has been submitted to the Council planning department.

I'd like the site to stay as it is, gently reverting to nature. In the years since it was being used, all sorts of flora and fauna must have colonised the place. But sadly that isn't going to happen, unless we have some altruistic millionaire living in Hebden Bridge who can make it so. And neither will there be a donkey sanctuary, an animal welfare centre, a low cost housing scheme or even, dare I say it, a swimming pool. We can talk about such things, we can dream our dreams, we might even make suggestions to the developers, but ultimately the head has to rule the heart and any outcome will revolve around money.

It's somewhat ironic that this is a brownfield site (groan!), but development favours such sites over greenfield. Surely though, we have to see what's being proposed before we can discuss it?

From Ian M

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Sorry Hannah, but I'm afraid Roger is right.

The land is owned by a developer who wants to make money, not the council or a well intentioned group of local residents.

I would suggest that the first order of business at the meeting would be to ask who is willing to put up the several million pounds needed to buy the site from Belmont. Unless the funds to give them a return on their investment are there, telling them what you want the site to be used for would be a waste of time. They will just sit there with their fingers in their ears going "la la la" happy to sit on the site until they gain permission.

From Dave R

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Whilst I am all for those who feel strongly about an issue getting off their backside and doing something, I really can't see what this particular 'meeting' hopes to achieve. The land is privately owned, the options are not there for community use, unless you can access the substantial amount of cash needed to purchase the site.

The 'plans' for a supermarket have not been submitted for anyone to actually oppose.

To meet at this stage would surely be of very little point?

Hebden Bridge had a swimming pool fund/plans for years without success, dont you think the Browns site will have already been ruled out for that?

Good luck with whatever you hope to achieve, but as a supporter of the hotel/small supermarket proposal I wouldnt see the point in attending .

From Sam Y

Thursday, 26 April 2012

I've known this site and the level 'build worthy' area is wasted or neglected space. However, as highlighted by others on the forum, there are terraces running down the steeps that, maintained by a small army of woodland creatures, that still channel the waters that run down the steeps.

The labours of the past are not irrepairable, but it is doubtful that a 'super'market or leisure complex would look at this feature as an asset.
I do. So I'd love to see the efforts of the past appreciated and adapted. I'd love to see an indoor market where local producers could supply local sellers.

I'd love to see all this blue gold weighed in, rather than it seen as a waste product that needs to be flushed to the river.

It would be beneficial for education (and for the promotion of sustainablity and of a closed loop model) should aquaponic or hydroponic technology be incorporated into the architecture. That would surely draw in interest.

I don't see this as either complex, or 'way out there'. However, more than likely we'll see a Lidl pop up, I can wake up, and everybody else can go back to sleep again.

From John Rhodes

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Further to the meeting last night someone (the developer I presume) has delivered an anonymous leaflet through doors on Savile Road. The leaflet announces two "Public Consultation Events" at the Stubbing Wharf, King Street at:

30 April 4.00 pm - 8.00 pm

3 May 10.00 pm - 4.00 pm

These are further described as exhibition events where you will have, "an opportunity for questions and comments on the proposal".

I do not know what the total distribution is but as the leaflet is devoid of any contact details it is not possible to check anything. Perhaps those of us who are residents of Savile Road, Church Lane and Stubbing Drive should have a get together once the planning application has been lodged.

Perhaps I'm cynical but the idea that the originators of this anonymous leaflet are genuinely open to "consultation", that is, an opportunity to affect matters before decisions have been taken, is, I believe, risible. Like the publicity they have had in the HB Times (including the rather strange letters from as far afield as Keighley) I think we're on the receiving end of a soft-soaping exercise. Still, it'll be good to find out which supermarket chain we're dealing with.


Further to my earlier post I've been doing some quick research on Indigo Planning who were (are??) advising Belmont Homes. They are a big company and their web-site states, "Indigo provides all planning advice to Sainsbury's for the East of England and East Midlands regions. This includes promoting new store and extension opportunities in both regions to ensure Sainsbury's ambitious expansion and development requirements are met. Indigo works closely with Sainsbury's development and retail teams to promote and secure additional floorspace.

Indigo acts as a planning agent on all planning applications in each region, including initial advice on scheme; strategy and tactics; preparing planning statements and retail assessments; coordinating and managing submission and subsequent negotiations."

Doug Hann, the Director who dealt with the application for renewal has a job history that includes the following two projects:

Lucas Sports Ground, Brierfield - On behalf of Barnfield Construction Indigo achieved a mixed residential, employment, sports and community facility consent on a former sports ground site that had previously been refused for residential use by the Secretary of State.

Millennium City Park, Preston - Advising on the development of former sports fields for a significant business park with new warehousing, offices, car showrooms, and industrial units.

Belmont Homes (Cheshire) Ltd appear to build thumping great mansions in Cheshire and not supermarkets and hotels so for all we know the land could have been sold on.

Plenty of questions to be asked of our anonymous hosts.

From Sam Deakin

Saturday, 28 April 2012

In response to the comment from John Rhodes, I would like to take the opportunity to respond to the points as made:

1. To introduce ourselves, we are local architects – Moreton Deakin Associates – based in the town and you may know that we have already released a statement about the proposed development through the HB Times. We have no connection with Indigo Planning. The exhibition events that are planned for next week represent a further stage of the consultation exercises that we are carrying out. Although there appears to be some criticism that the leaflets are anonymous, no contact details were included as it was intended to be solely of an informative nature rather than inviting comments ahead of the two events. We feel that this approach would allow us to obtain the most effective and quantifiable responses from residents.
2. In relation to the points that no additional information has been provided or there is no opportunity to check anything, this is only because of the early stage that we are at with the project as a whole, which we felt was important in order to carry out proper consultation.
3. Whilst it is suggested that residents' views will not be considered, carrying out local consultation is now a statutory requirement and a report of our findings will need to be produced – and will be scrutinised by the local authority - as part of the planning application. The very fact that we are responding to your comments and checking this website shows that this is not just an on the day tick box exercise for us.

I hope this information is helpful, but obviously we are happy to discuss any comments and views next week.

From Craig AW

Monday, 30 April 2012

At some point I presume something will be built on the site and as a resident of Stubbing Drive overlooking the site there are two issues that stand out, design and traffic; issues the developer, architect, planning officials and councillors must think through.

One of the great aspects of the site at present is the fact that it is open and as such allows your eye to naturally survey the plane before rising to take in the valley slopes that rise on all sides.

Those who travel into Hebden Bridge from Todmorden are greeted by this, as are those going the other way I suppose and is a vista that gives the town some of its uniqueness.

The last design passed for housing (and token industrial unit built at a later date!) took no account of this in the design and had 5 storey houses built right up to the roadside, and right up to where the current entrance is, coincidently right on top of where the site floods!

Whatever comes would be better set back from the road with low level build at the front and higher level build rising gently further to the back of the site which would complement the natural flow and contour of the plane and valley slopes. This should allow a largish development to be accommodated without it feeling too overbearing.

Signage - I don't really want to open the curtains every morning and be welcomed to the day by large supermarket signs and say goodnight to neon glowing letters. Discreet, low level signage should be a factor taken into consideration for any development on the site.

And finally how does one solve the issue of keeping traffic flowing through the valley and accommodating ever increasing traffic entering and exiting Stubbing Drive/Brink and the Pub, whatever is built on the site, the turning circle, Mytholm steeps and Heptonstall Road?

From Greg Hobson

Monday, 30 April 2012

'carrying out local consultation is now a statutory requirement' . . . ie a tick box exercise?

I recall a similar consultation exercise for the Garden Street development proposals and I'm sure everyone recalls what a difference that made.

From Sam Deakin

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Thank you to everybody that attended the first of our two consultation events at the Stubbing Wharf yesterday. Now that the consultation process is advancing we have set up an e-mail address so that anyone wishing to send their views to us in this format can do so.

The e-mail address is


All comments are welcome.

From Paul D

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Having gone along it didn't feel like a 'tick box' consultation exercise. The plans were set out and there were chances to discuss at length issues around them (and have a nice pint). So, I'd suggest anyone interested or concerned who hasn't been should attend as it was really informative. For those opposed there will also be an opportunity to object when these proposals (or revised proposals) are submitted to public scrutiny as a full planning application, so it's not undemocratic, the opposite in fact.

Cynics might say that any views expressed at such events will not be taken into account, but that wasn't the impression I got. The development is very locally grounded, things I'd like are simply not possible due to certain aspects of the site and it was good to have this set out in detail. The overall impression I left with was that if the site is to be developed there's a very good team taking responsibility for it.

I was there a good while and there didn't seem to be much oppostion at all, just interested and friendly dicsussions. I'm not saying it's perfect or to everyone's liking, but it was good to see how much local knowledge had gone into this development, from the size of the store, to the safety at the entrance. Aesthetically it was very creative and given how bland hotels and supermarkets can look the plans were altogether quite good. So, this was not what I'd put on that site, but given I don't own it and if this is what is to be put on it - quite well thought out.

From John Rhodes

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

I went to the information meeting held in the Stubbings. I should explain that I live on Savile Road so I am keenly interested in what happens to the site.

My starting point is that I do not believe that Hebden Bridge needs a supermarket although I accept that some people may want one. I personally cannot see that the town could support another hotel but the market will decide that I guess. I also accept the point made by Paul D that some development is inevitable if only because Belmont and Setbray, who I was told, are the joint owners of the site, would want to get their money back (and perhaps turn a profit). In a better world I would want to see a new primary school built there as I believe that we can demonstrate a real need and perhaps an associated swimming pool. I understand, and a parent governor at Hebden Royd has confirmed this, that talks to build a school were fairly well advanced up to the point that Gove pulled the plugged on the Building Schools for the Future programme. Another reason to vote Labour on Thursday (but that's another thread).

If the school is a non-runner and any housing (preferably a low density mix of affordable and social housing with an extension of the old folks flats) is prevented because of the flood problem then we fall back on our so-called planning system.

So, instead of the community through the Town Council and Calderdale MBC being able to agree and plan what should happen a cumbersome system of planning zones has to respond to a speculative venture. Our speculators, having bought the land , now wish to see a return (belatedly they would argue). The awful proposed housing scheme that got permission has fallen at the water obstacle so the impression I was given is that the developers are basically casting around for something that will be allowed, will not generate huge opposition in the town and on which they can turn a profit.

There are three areas where I would hope others could shine some light on matters. Firstly, my reading of the Council's own recently updated Retail Needs Assessment concluded that there was no planning need for a supermarket in Hebden Bridge although there was in Todmorden. I wonder if Sainbury's are successful in their appeal to build in Tod whether any other supermarket chain would wish to take a punt on a supermarket only just larger than the existing Co-op (on a like for like basis we were told) in Hebden Bridge.

Secondly, when we asked whether anyone was responsible for doing an assessment of the likely impact of a new supermarket on the town we were referred to the above document which is not the same thing. Clearly some of that is unknowable; some of it is guessable but there must be modelling done elsewhere and I wonder who, if anyone, is responsible for doing it.

Thirdly, the hotel. I guess the local business community and especially those who make a living from providing accommodation are going to have a view on the likely impact of a 50 bedroom Premier Inn or Travelodge. If we do end up with one then perhaps that is the area where there might be some community benefit by way of a swimming pool as it is not clear that the proposed pool in Mytholmroyd is making any headway. If it is then perhaps someone from Mytholmroyd could clarify that (before they declare UDI at which point we can ignore their views totally . . . only joking - honest!!).

Perhaps after Thursday the Town Council could take a lead in obtaining local views and feeding that back to the planners once a formal application is lodged. It may not be possible to build a consensus but it should be possible for the Town Council to fairly articulate the various viewpoints with an indication of the strength of feeling for each. Most importantly if there is some community benefit to be derived it is right that the Town Council should lead on that.

From Jonathan Timbers

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

John, I think you may have misunderstood the Hebden Royd governor in question (I don't think it was me btw, at least I hope not). I recall the offer of a new school was discussed by governors at Hebden Royd but the matter never progressed beyond that point.

As a member of the community who lives close to Brown's site, I agree with much of your recent post. We are fortunate in having developers who are apparently keen - for whatever reason - to work with the local community, and we may be able to extract a number of concessions from them provided they can still make a profit. Neither Calderdale Council nor Hebden Royd Town Council have the means to purchase the site, nor can any individual or group from the local community - other than the current developers. The only realistic option is constructive engagement and you are right to say that Hebden Royd should be co-ordinating the response because of its advisory role in the planning process.

From Jen Gibbons

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

I went to the consultation at the pub and am far more interested in the potential for a local hotel than the supermarket. We are a tourist town but have very limited family accommodation. It seems that the plans are at a very early stage and the developers are interested in listening to the local community.

How about a small swimming pool within the hotel to be available to the the local community for swimming lessons etc (and available to residents of course for the many rainy days we have)? A flexible interior design (e.g. rooms with lockable interconnecting doors) to allow families to have hotel accommodation without the need to share a room with children (to attract more families to have holidays/weekend breaks here)? Bike parks/hire? Treatment rooms for guests that can be filled by local therapists offering massage? etc.

This is prime development land and will definitely be developed at some point. The current developers seem open to ideas so this is an opportunity to be creative (as well as realistic).

From Roger N

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

One thing intrigues me.

The renewal for the application for 50 plus houses was rejected on the grounds that the site is now in the Environment Agency's flood risk area.

But surely, if a site is at risk from flooding, then anything that goes on the site is at risk. How can a supermarket and a hotel be at any less risk of flooding than a housing development?

I do wonder if this site is a bit of a poisoned chalice. Greedy developers buy, then realise they can't develop, and so sell it on to other developers. This has been going on for over thirty years now, and the site remains unchanged and undeveloped. And the rules have become increasingly tough. What makes the current developers think they can build on a site liable to flooding?

From Margaret Boyle

Thursday, 3 May 2012

I went along to the consultation event on Tuesday and have had a number of conversations with neighbours who live in Mytholm and I would describe the general reaction as one of uneasy resignation, on the lines of "it's not as bad as the last plan." I don't know anyone who is enthusiastic about it.

This is too important a development to be decided by apathy because the plans put forward would affect all of us through the increase in traffic along our slow, narrow and already congested road and the trade of existing retail and hospitality businesses.

The developers have produced a leaflet asking for views on whether the development of a supermarket in HB is necessary, to which I have replied no, since Calderdale Council's independent Retail Needs Assessment concluded that this was the case and I have seen no evidence to contradict this.

On the question of whether the town could maintain a 50 bedroom hotel, I have said that I do not know, but believe that HB Town Council and Calderdale must have evidence of unmet tourist needs. If this can be shown, then I would have no objection to a hotel which could be designed to fit imaginatively into the interesting site, preserving the remains of the old mill. If a community facility such as a swimming pool could be included so much the better.

If the supermarket element is dropped because need cannot be shown, could the developers look at an extension of the sheltered accomodation for older people in the field next door? I understand that there are current and growing unmet needs for such provision here in Calderdale and in many ways this would be an ideal site, close to public transport, no hills, a nearby hotel for friends and relatives, light on car use. This might not generate the profit levels of a supermarket, though the number of schemes providing different types of sheltered accommodation for older people does suggest that they do make money.

The developers say that they have "worked hard since the conception of the proposal to create a development which is ecenomically viable, yet sensitive to the needs of the local community". Well, not hard enough yet.....

From Susan Quick

Sunday, 6 May 2012

A mixed use redevelopment of Mytholm Works - the large open space opposite the turning circle - is being proposed. Half the site is owned by Setbray who are proposing a hotel and large parking bay. The other half is owned by Belmont who are proposing a supermaret and car park. Together they are proposing approx 180 parking bays.

This would obviously have a huge imapact on traffic density on King Street. The architect, Dennis Deakin, held a public consultation at the Stubbing Wharf on 30th April and 3rd March. It was said that a zebra crossig would almost certainly be included. However this would be a Calderdale MBC decision and local residents have been asking for a zebra crossing for years. We were told to walk to the traffic lights at the bottom of the Heptonstall hill, despite the fact that there is no pavement on the river side of King Street!

In 2006, provisional planning permission was granted for 43 apartments and 11 detached houses at Mytholm Works. Fearing that this would just turn Hebden into a massive commuter town, local residents, myself included, campaigned and were successful in having the provisional permission replaced with planning permission for a community environment: 50% housing, 50% shops and offices. However nothing ever happened. Presumably the planning permission has now expired.

As building a supermarket and hotel on King Street, would have massive impact on the whole of Hebden Bridge, not just on local residents, I hope everyone will get involved in the debate, share your views. How do we develop Mytholm Works so as to maintain Hebden Bridge as one of the most interesting towns in the world?

From Mark C

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The site needs attention. Many different suggestions and none in agreement. Why not having a swimming pool enclosed by a supermarket?. Watch your kids swim while you shop!. A first not just for the country but ...Hebden.