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Development at Mytholm Works

From Kez Armitage

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Planning Committee has unanimously approved the plans for a supermarket and hotel at the former Mytholm Works.

In support of the development,  Councillor Hardy cited the example of Elland, which, up until fairly recently, only had a Co-op, and now has a Morrisons and a Lidl too. Have the supermarkets decimated that town? Not a bit of it. In fact new shops have appeared, as more people are staying in the area to do their shopping.

The main loser - and it seems all parties agree on this - will be the Co-op in Hebden Bridge. It doesn't however mean that it will close, it's just that some of its business will go down the road to Mytholm Works. It may actually make it a better shop. It has been overtrading for some time, has poor stock control, and its car park simply isn't big enough to make it a major primary shopping destination. A bit of healthy competition could well be its salvation.

It was pointed out that the proposed supermarket is not going to be a vast megastore. It's only marginally bigger than the Co-op itself and will therefore not have a large array of goods, competing with the great little independent shops of Hebden Bridge. It's going to have a free car park too.

The main selling point of the proposal is the prospect of attracting some of the 60% of local residents who currently drive out of town, to Morrisons, Asda, Tesco and Sainsburys in Halifax, Keighley and Todmorden. It must be good to keep these people, and their money, local. If nothing else, it means less vehicles clogging up and polluting the roads of the Upper Calder Valley.

The point was made that no supermarket has yet expressed an interest in the site, and that the planning application was merely a way to boost the value of the land. This was refuted by the agent who said that there were several supermarkets interested, but it was not uncommon for them to lie low until planning permission had been granted (This was confirmed by the Planning Officer). He also said that Best Western Hotels were interested in the proposed hotel.

Finally, as Councillor Young pointed out, most people who shop in Hebden Bridge are pedestrians. They walk to the Co-op and then visit other shops in town. But how many of these pedestrians are really going to be prepared to walk the half mile to Mytholm Works, and then stagger back half a mile with loads of bags? I think that the detrimental effects that a new supermarket will have on the centre of Hebden Bridge have been overstated.

From Cllr Dave Young

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

This is what I actually said last night at the Planning Committee speaking against the application.

"I am still not convinced that this is a serious Planning application.

"As far as I am aware the developers do not have a Supermarket or Hotel chain lined up

"The land is worth ¬£600,000 at present but if the Planning Application was passed then the land would be worth about £2 or £3 million.

"This is more about increasing the value of the land than a serious planning application where the developers will try to sell the land on.

"Hebden Bridge is a strange sort of place with many independent shops and a Co-op Supermarket and is well supported by locals and tourists alike. This Planning application would upset the balance and could well lead
To the closure of many shops in our Town Centre due to the 30% reduction in footfall.

I hope the planning committee take these points on board."

From Benny M

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The assumption that the planning application is all about an increase in value of the site is absolute I know the agents involved and it is simple self interest that is driving the scheme. Seven years ago I was instructed by McCarthey & Stone to evaluate the site for retirement appartments. It was rejected on location grounds and fears of enviromental problems. This is a very unstable and dodgy site.

When will self interest give way to common sense and those with a fiscal interest back off and go away?

From Kez Armitage

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Councillor Young, I am referring to your replies to the questions posed to you by Councillor David Hardy, and not to your initial submission to the committee as you state here, which I agree, sums up your objections.
During his questioning you told him that most people you know do not drive, relying on the excellent rail and bus transport we have in Hebden Bridge. The implication of your reply was that people in Hebden Bridge usually shop on foot, visiting the Co-op and, because the Co-op is central, other local shops as well. There's nothing wrong with that, in fact it's highly commendable.

You then went on to say, when asked by the Chair, Councillor Sutherland, that it was a ten minute walk from the Co-op to the Mytholm Works site. This raised some amusement in the meeting as it would take most people a little longer than that.

I actually think you scored an 'own goal' here and, judging by the reaction of the supporters of the proposal standing at the back of the committee room, they did too. If Hebden Bridge has such a pedestrian population, as you implied, then a supermarket out of town would pose no threat. Who would bother to do that ten minute walk if they can get everything they want in the town centre? And if they did bother to make that walk, it rather suggests that they can't get everything they want in town!

From Myra James

Thursday, 5 December 2013

I would like to correct Kez Armitage's assertion that the development received unanimous approval from the Planning Committee. While I was not present myself, I understand from people who were that the application was approved by four votes to three. This strikes me as a rather slim basis on which to approve such a major development in our town which could have long term adverse consequences.

I am not a speedy walker but am sure I can make the trip from the Co-op to Mytholm Works in 10 minutes. What's more there will from next year be a 10 minute bus service to/from the site so people who currently shop on foot in the town centre may well indeed be tempted to make the short journey to the new store, creating an impact on the Co-op and other town centre businesses.

That's if it ever happens - we wait to discover whether any supermarket actually wants to open there. No clear sign of any interest so far.

From Kez Armitage

Thursday, 5 December 2013

I understand that the vote was unanimous, but that a majority voted for the proposal and the rest abstained. No councillor voted against the proposal. Apologies for the misinformation.

From Joel B

Friday, 6 December 2013

Finally the planning commitee sees sense! Hopefully, this time the development will actually take place. I've said many times before that since the Browns fire, the land is eyesore. The locals have waited long enough for this so great news.

Tescos is my preference, no more driving to Halifax for our shopping. The icing on the cake would be a Macdonalds!!

From Christine Richmond

Friday, 6 December 2013

I objected to this proposal as I actually live close to the site. I used to work there 50 years ago and although the site is now somewhat of an eyesore it should be used for the general good of the area and the people who live there. We (who live there) neither want, nor need a hotel or supermarket especially when there are two large living complexes for older people right next door. Can you imagine the traffic (including heavy lorries) that would be there, day and night?

What might be needed is car parking spaces, perhaps with a small cafe, a children's playground and a picnic area for the many tourists who are now seen as Hebden's life blood. Other towns do this as a "park and ride" feature to keep people coming to the area, and giving them easy access to Hebden by bus or walking.

Anyone who has seen the proposed design must realise that the architect has no idea what Hebden Bridge is all about, nor taken into account the local stone, or our way of life - it's absolutely awful! As they don't actually have anyone who has guaranteed their interest I really hope this does not go ahead.

From Barry Mills

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

I can't see much downside to this. The Co-op is a desperate place, and any credible competition will either put it out of business or drag it into the 21st century, either of which would be fine.

I see no threat to local businesses, almost certainly the reverse. Most people do their shopping at supermarkets further out of town at the moment, it will make no difference if they do it a bit closer. A hotel could be good for local trade - remember we've lost Moyles and Holme House recently, there is a shortage of accommodation in the area.

I just hope that Booths take it up. It would be a perfect site for them, and if we had a Booths here it would increase the number of day trippers coming in to the area to shop.



HebWeb Forum: Mytholm Works Retail Impact Assessment (Aug-Sept 2013)

HebWeb News: Brown's site: Questions raised over new Retail Assessment which backs proposed supermarket 15 July 2013

HebWeb News: Brown's site: Planners recommend refusal of Supermarket and Hotel plans

HebWeb Forum - discussion from July 2012

HebWeb Forum - discussion from March to May2012