Campaigners who have said “no” to supermarket giant Sainsbury’s are urging people to say “yes” to Hebden Bridge, by helping them shape a vision for the town’s future.
The group believes that proactive steps to protect what they believe is the town’s economic balance need to be taken, in addition to continuing to oppose potential supermarket developments in the town, says SOS Hebden Bridge.
They are inviting people to an open meeting to reiterate opposition to Sainsbury’s coming to Hebden Bridge and discussion of new ideas this Sunday, March 1, at the Waterfront Hall in Hebden Bridge Town Hall, St George’s Street, from 1.30pm to 3.30pm.
Sainsbury’s appeal deadline against the current refusal for planning permission comes up March 17 and this will be discussed, but the other aim of the meeting is to start formulating a positive vision for Hebden Bridge’s future, says the group.
Organisers from SOS Hebden Bridge are calling the event “Say No to Sainsbury’s – Say Yes to Hebden Bridge.” They plan short talks, a discussion forum, the creation of a vision board and refreshments.
A key issue is the future of the Old Fire Station site, along with the direction of Hebden Bridge, said a spokesperson. There will also be a consideration of how to oppose Sainsbury’s if it decides to appeal Calderdale Council’s “no” decision.
A spokesperson from SOS Hebden Bridge said: “New government plans mean we have more say in what goes on in our town.
“Come and meet groups who are passionate about making Hebden Bridge a great place to be for all ages, now and in the future.”
Pledge cards for people to register their intent to not support Sainburys in Hebden Bridge, will be available at the Town Hall - they are already available in shops and cafes around the town.
The spokesperson continued: “We are lucky in Hebden Bridge to still have a vibrant shopping centre.
“However its viability is already under threat because of traffic, particularly heavy traffic and parking pressures.”
The group believes supermarket development is renowned for leading to local shop closure and feel the risk of this must be guarded against.
“Hebden Bridge itself is already well served for the local population size with convenience shopping of the type proposed by this store. As well as this, the lack of parking for and the relative inaccessibility of the Old Fire Station location would make it of minimal use to the large section of the community that lives out of town, such as Mytholm, Heptonstall, Charlestown and Old Town.
“SOS is keen, assuming that Sainsburys are unable to develop that site, to make sure the voice of the people of Hebden Bridge is clearly heard so that the site can be developed in a way that benefits not just the developers but also the town as a whole.
“If we can achieve this we can continue to have a healthy local economy that can support family life and community cohesion.”
Sainsburys proposal including a two storey, mixed-use block containing a Sainsbury’s Local on the ground floor and part of the first floor, while the second part would have consisted of a three storey block of five townhouses on Hangingroyd Lane.