Shop keepers and residents in Hebden Bridge have stepped up a campaign to stop a proposed supermarket development that would be ‘disastrous’ to local shops.
Members of the ‘Save Our Shops - Say No to Sainsbury’s’ campaign have been rallying since last year to stop the proposed Sainsbury’s supermarket being built on the former Hebden Bridge Fire Station site on Valley Road.
The £1.5 million proposal, submitted by Eshton Gregory (Hebden Bridge) Limited and Sainbury’s Supermarkets Limited has proposed that the land will be used to provide a mixed use development comprising of a ground floor unit with additional space at first floor, with three apartments and five townhouses.
Concern has increased recently after Sainsbury’s submitted amendments to the planning proposal and refused to carry out a retail impact assessment after residents requested it earlier this year.
Pipa Frederiksen, core group member of Save our Shops, said: “It would just be horrendous for Hebden Bridge.
“There are so many amazing independent shops and direct competition with a supermarket would be massive competition that they will struggle with. We think it will ruin the feel of Hebden.”
Furious residents expressed worry over the use of additional supermarket floor space, whether independent shops would survive and the ‘devastating’ delivery routine that would mean, if permission was granted, a 11.2m long lorry delivering to the supermarket seven times a day.
Owner of William Holts, greengrocers of Bridge Gate, Bob Cowling is ‘anxious and nervous’ about the proposed supermarket development.
“Hebden Bridge is a town of little shops and it would no longer be a town of little shops if the proposal came through.
“I can’t say how much it would affect my business but it would be detrimental.”
Calderdale Council’s Head of Planning and Highways, Geoff Willerton, said: “A formal retail impact assessment is not a policy requirement for a development of this scale. We are assessing the application against national and local planning policy, and as part of this process we’re considering all comments received, both for and against the development.”
Paul Sellers, Regional Acquisitions Surveyor for Sainsbury’s said: “We are working closely with Calderdale Council and all the appropriate studies have been carried out to comply fully with UK planning policy, as well as the relevant local and national policies. A retail impact assessment is not required on this scheme.
“Our proposed new store in Hebden Bridge, which together with the housing will ensure the regeneration of a demolition site in temporary use, would deliver a significant boost to the local economy, creating up to 20 full and part-time jobs. It would also create additional choice when local shoppers top up their weekly shop. We are optimistic of a positive decision when our plans are considered by Calderdale Planning Committee in the coming months.”
Bob Deacon, chairman of the Hebden Bridge Partnership has submitted a site submission form for alternative use of the site.
“A strategic planning opportunity exists to develop a vibrant extension of the town for much needed housing, office space, car parking and open public space.
“It would be a way to develop the area with affordable housing and shop outlets.”