PLANS by ASDA to build a store and car park on the site of the former medical centre where killer doctor Harold Shipman began his career as a GP are on track.
Netto gained planning permission for a new store on the site of the Abraham Ormerod Medical Centre in Todmorden last year, but following ASDA’s purchase of Netto the store will be operated as an ASDA.
It is due to open in Burnley Road, Todmorden, in the autumn.
An ASDA spokesman said: “We are delighted to be able to bring forward a new Asda store in Todmorden” - a town which reports say is ‘supermarket-lite’. He added: “Asda is well known across Yorkshire. We are looking forward to serving our future Todmorden customers.”
Calderdale councillor Ian Cooper, (Con, Todmorden), said he was relieved to hear the application to create the supermarket was going ahead after some fears in the town that it may have stalled.
He said: “I am pleased to be advised that ASDA have successfully progressed all pre-construction planning conditions enabling the company to move ahead with construction.
“I remain convinced that the opportunity provided by this development is a good one, but most particularly, its location will bring much-needed business to Todmorden town centre.
“There have been suggestions that nothing much is happening in the town but nothing could be further from the truth.
“It is important to assure the people of Todmorden that there is activity in the town designed to contribute to its general economic health and well-being.”
Todmorden has been at the centre of a supermarket ‘war’ in recent months with a huge proportion of its residents opposed to Sainsbury’s plans to build one on Halifax Road.
Around a quarter of its population of 3,450 people signed a petition against it, fearing it would “destroy” the town.
The company lost its battle to build it when Calderdale’s Planning Committee turned down the plans which would have created 150 jobs and the company is now running out of time in which to lodge an appeal.
Coun Cooper added: “With ASDA moving ahead it just further emphasises that any additional supermarkets would just over-intensify the amount of disposable income available.”
He firmly believes that Sainsbury’s is a supermarket too far and on top of the ASDA proposal “would be suicidal for a market town”.
He is of the view that the site would be better utilised as a marina and would represent a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to develop the town’s tourism potential.
Last year fears were expressed at the highest level of Calderdale Council that the borough was being in danger of being overpopulated with supermarkets - Sainsbury’s and ASDA had applied to build major ones in Todmorden and in Elland Morrisons and ASDA were anxious to gain a presence in the town. So far only Morrisons have been able to win approval for their plans which could create up to 200 jobs.
The interest in supermarket destinations was just as intense as in Elland as Todmorden last year with more than 500 people crowding into the Shay Stadium to express their views on whether ASDA and Morrisons should get the go-ahead.
Last year council leader Coun Janet Battye, (Lib Dem, Calder), said she was proud of the interest the borough was attracting from such major players.
Dr Harold Shipman became one of the country’s worst serial killers with more than 200 victims recorded. In 1974 he took his first position as a GP at the Abraham Ormerod Medical Centre.
After being convicted he was told he would spend the rest of his life in prison. He was found hanged in his cell in 2004.