Protestors urge council and supermarket to sort out footpath

Sort it out quickly - that's the clear message from residents and councillors concerned with closed-off footpath and flooding risk issues who staged a protest at the new Lidl supermarket site in Todmorden.

Protestors outside the Lidl store in Todmorden. Picture: John Greenwood, Local Democracy Reporter.
Protestors outside the Lidl store in Todmorden. Picture: John Greenwood, Local Democracy Reporter.

Work is currently halted on the Halifax Road site while Calderdale Council and the supermarket chain resolve issues involving fulfillment of planning conditions relating to flooding issues.

Some Todmorden town councillors and residents have been unhappy the largely coned-off footpath along the site frontage has been effectively out of commission while building is in limbo, a dip where the site entrance has frequently filled up and become a giant puddle, leaving it looking like an eyesore while the bigger picture clears.

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Resident Rodney Young said: “When the work on this store began the public had to endure months of traffic lights on this stretch of road, forcing them to cross the road from Der Street, walk up past the Factory shop and cross again to get to Todmorden Health Centre.

“At the time made this very difficult for disabled people to get to the health centre.

“When work was stopped on this store before Christmas the council should have insisted that this footpath was finished and opened back up to the public. We are now into April and this pavement is still unusable,” he said.

The aim of the protest is to put pressure on Calderdale to get the pavement concern and the major planning condition issues sorted out as soon as possible.

Coun Michael Hatfield said town councillors and residents alike were not against Lidl as a store at all and wanted to see it open - but only when the proper planning conditions were met as serious issues of increased flood risk were resolved in line with the given permission.

“We just want it sorted out. People in the town want the store open; people who live there want it built in such a way that when we get heavy rain it is not going to pour off,” he said.

Concerns hinge around conditions relating to water dispersal from the site, which as it stands has been raised to around two feet over road level, and Calderdale issued Lidl with a planning contravention notice last December.

Mr Young said: “I most also point out that no one is against the store but it most be brought back down to historic levels what ever the cost.”

Calderdale Council’s assistant director for strategic infrastructure, Steven Lee, said: “Following the resulting action taken by the Council and Environment Agency, work on site is now on hold while issues with the drainage are resolved.

“High level discussions are continuing between the council, Lidl and the Environment Agency and we will continue to put pressure on Lidl to ensure that the situation is addressed as quickly as possible.”

A spokesperson for Lidl said the issues were receiving attention.

“We would like to take the opportunity to thank the local community for their patience as we progress with analysis of the site, which we remain in close contact with both the Environment Agency and Calderdale Council on, and which we hope to conclude shortly.

“Arrangements were made for remedial works to remove a puddle in a section of the unfinished surface, which gathered due to the pause of highway works.

“Additionally, a temporary solution is being installed, ahead of any construction recommencing.

“We look forward to providing an update on the development in due course, and providing further reassurance around any outstanding queries,” he said.