Save Our Shops Hebden Bridge calls for support at Planning Committee meeting

Save Our Shops (SOS) Hebden Bridge are calling for people to support their campaign when Calderdale Council Planning Committee consider Sainsburys’ amendments to their planning application for the Old Fire Station site on Valley Road (Ref 13/01542/FUL) in Hebden Bridge.

The date of this Committee Meeting has not yet been set, but the Calderdale Planning Officer, Richard Seaman, has told SOS Hebden Bridge member Hilary Chadwick that it will be either on the 5th August, or on the 26th August – the day after the bank holiday. Planning Committee meetings take place in Halifax Town Hall and ones that are likely to interest the public usually are scheduled for 6pm.

Sainsburys have taken more than 4 months to submit this extra information and now they are pushing for a speedy outcome.

Sainsbury’s are refusing to do a Retail Impact Assessment, as requested by Calderdale Council.

This would address the community’s concern over the increase in supermarket floor space within the town. This assessment is needed because the additional 450m2 of this store, added to the permission already granted for a 2,140m2 supermarket on the Browns site in Mytholm, means the town suddenly has 2,590sq.m extra retail space. A Retail impact assessment is required when there is over 2,500m2 .The whole floor area of the local Co-op is about 2,500m2. Can Hebden Bridge sustain this?

When the Browns Field developers failed to submit a retail impact assessment, the Council Planning Committee told them to go away and do one, and they had to do so.

SOS Hebden Bridge is concerned is that if Sainsburys gets the go ahead for its store on Valley Road, this would cause Hebden Bridge’s small shops to struggle and then close. The group says that there is a direct correspondence to the growth in supermarket activity and the decline of the British High streets, and quotes the BBC’s “Mary Queen Of Shops”, shopping expert Mary Portas, as blaming supermarkets for “killing” Britain’s smaller shops. Mary Portas has said,

“We’re sacrificing not just our greengrocers, our butchers and our bakers, but also our communities for convenience.”

In a recent shop survey carried out by SOS Hebden Bridge, all of the local shop keepers the group spoke to felt their businesses would be affected, as did most of those people asked. This is a real concern.

Save Our Shops (SOS) Hebden Bridge also notes that Sainsburys have requested a devastating delivery routine:

“If the permission is granted we would be seeing an 11.2m long lorry delivering 7 times a day. The added problems a vehicle of this size would cause entering the town by the White Lion, turning over the bridge towards the town hall, where many pedestrians spill upon the street should not be underrestimated. Turning up Valley road and parking opposite the colonnade of small shops. When exiting, it is proposed that 3 car parking spaces are lost on Regent Street to allow a turn back onto narrow Hangingroyd Lane, to leave the town again by the same route.”

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