Proposal should be firmly rejected

By their rather previous application for a liquor licence Sainsbury’s seem to be presuming that the developer’s current application for planning permission for the Valley Road site will be rubber-stamped by Calderdale on the basis of its “similarity” to the permission previously granted them. However, much has changed in the last three years.

Planning permission has since then been granted for an out-of-town supermarket - on the basis of a retail impact survey which took no account of the possible presence of another supermarket in the town.

The previously granted permission was for housing plus two small retail units - which would have added to the diversity of the retail offer in the town. A supermarket, by contrast, will be duplicating the existing offer in the town and thereby draining trade from established smaller businesses. Because the intended occupant of the site is a national chain, money spent in the store will be channelled out of the local economy, rather than being re-circulated within it.

Delivery arrangements for two smaller retail units would have probably involved occasional visits by standard-size vans. Deliveries for Sainsbury’s will, by their own admission, involve frequent and regular visits by large and articulated vehicles, trying to weave their way around the tight corners from the Keighley Road, over St George’s bridge and into Valley Road.

There has been a reduction in the number of residential units from the original application, at a time when the area is being targeted by government to create a larger number of new homes. The argument from job-creation is specious, as it takes no account of jobs lost in the wider economy as a result of the monopolistic competition.

Five parking-spaces between eight residential units is inadequate (along with the loss of the current temporary parking on the site).

This is a very different proposal to the one allowed three years ago, and needs to be rigorously assessed on its own merits for its impact on the social and economic welfare of the town, and, we believe, firmly rejected.

James Botten,

Hebden Bridge.