Plans for store and hotel set to be rejected

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A PLANNING chief is urging councillors to reject plans for a hotel, hydro-electric power station and supermarket at Hebden Bridge.

Belmont Homes has submitted plans for a five-storey hotel and supermarket for an undisclosed end user to the north of King Street.

The former industrial land is an important “gateway” site and has been vacant since 2003.

Councillors will make a decision on the proposals at a meeting on Tuesday.

They will be told that 63 letters of objection and 19 in favour have been submitted.

Objectors claim the scheme would divert trade and damage the vitality of the town centre.

Others say the hospitality industry would be harmed and that the scale and design of the buildings would be “inappropriate”.

Supporters have argued that the proposal would bring investment and create much-needed jobs and increased competition would bring lower prices.

The council’s head of planning, Geoff Willerton, says in a report that the proposals are not acceptable.

It concludes: “Whilst the development would deliver benefits through the provision of improved retail and hotel facilities this is outweighed by the failure of the applicant to demonstrate that the development would have an acceptable impact on the vitality and viability of Hebden Bridge.”

The report says there is insufficient information about the potential impact on biodiversity and how the hydro-electric scheme might affect aquatic life.

It concludes that the development could pull shoppers from the main town centre.

“The site is a substantial distance from the primary and secondary shopping frontage of Hebden Bridge and, given the scale of the proposals, it is considered that the development is likely to function as a free-standing retail destination with limited linked trips to the town centre.”