A controversial £6 million hotel and supermarket development at the gateway to Hebden Bridge has been given the go-ahead.
Calderdale Council’s planning committee voted by a majority decision in favour of Belmont Homes’ proposal at the site of the former Mytholm Works in King Street.
The go-ahead was given despite concerns raised by the Co-op about the detrimental effect the out-of-town supermarket would have on town centre businesses and accusations from objectors that the scheme was just a smokescreen to increase the value of the land.
But speaking at the meeting held at Halifax Town Hall on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the agent MDA Architects said this was a serious application and they had already held talks with “a number of food store operators”. He said that Best Western Hotels had shown “serious interest” in the project.
He also allayed fears that the project, which could create up to 100 jobs, would seriously harm independent traders in Hebden Bridge, arguing that a “significant amount of the impact will fall on Halifax and Todmorden and the majority of the impact in Hebden Bridge will fall on the Co-op”.
Committee member and Elland ward councillor David Hardy said: “Competition in the high street in austere times - there’s a lot of people out of work and families struggling - is a good thing. Competition brings pricing down and that’s been very evident in Elland. I’m sure a little bit of competition in Hebden Bridge will be good for the shopping basket.”
Once built, the scheme will include a 50-bedroom hotel and small-scale supermarket. But, following objections from the Environment Agency, plans to include a 90 square metre hydro-electric power station have been scrapped.
Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker has welcomed the news, saying anything that creates jobs in the area can only be a good thing.
“I think this has been a contentious planning application throughout the course, but the reality is this is part of Hebden Bridge that has needed regenerating for some considerable time - decades rather than years,” he said.
“We need to celebrate the fact it’s going to regenerate the area, bring more jobs to the area and be a big boost to the local economy.”