Hospital site redevelopment plan splits Calder town

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A controversial bid to redevelop the site of a former cinema and hospital into a supermarket in Todmorden has divided opinion.

Permission is being sought to build a new Asda food store and petrol filling station, with 59 parking spaces, on the site of Abraham Ormerod Hospital and the former Olympia cinema at Burnley Road within Todmorden Conservation Area.

Calderdale Council has received 48 letters of objection and 38 supporting the scheme, which would create up to 30 jobs, but the local authority’s Planning Committee will be advised to grant permission when they met on Tuesday.

An Asda spokesman said: “We are delighted that our plans for a new store and petrol station are recommended for approval by Calderdale planners. The development will generate up to 30 jobs in the local community and provide more choice for shoppers. Our plans will also regenerate a disused and unattractive site and can be delivered this year.”

Critics fear the store would have an adverse effect on local traders, create traffic congestion and be detrimental to highway safety.

They claim the hospital should be used for community use or to benefit tourism in some way and that the proposed petrol station is too close to houses.

However, the development’s supporters say it would create “much needed quality jobs,” and the town needs the investment “to halt economic decline.” They claim the existing site has a “negative impact on the town” and that the scheme would transform a derelict gateway area of the town.

A report for the committee says: “Following negotiations the design is considered to be acceptable in context, subject to conditions, without causing harm to either the character or appearance of the conservation area or the setting of the listed viaduct. Whilst two buildings of local interest will be lost, the sensitive regeneration of the site will bring with it significant environmental improvements, a consideration to which significant weight should also be given.”