Following the presentation last week to the Todmorden Development Board, of our Pre-feasibility study into the alternative proposals for Todmorden College, the board voted 7-2 in favour of the Aldi proposal. The Board has thus recommended to the Calderdale cabinet that they pursue the Aldi proposal. It is hard to see the Cabinet rejecting that recommendation, but it may also eventually have to go to full council, according the Director for Economy and Environment.
We were disappointed for the people of Todmorden that the Board did not consider that Aldi will build a supermarket anyway on the adjacent site, and that they were more concerned with short-term savings than affording the community of Todmorden the opportunity to develop further the potentially viable proposals that we put before them in the pre-feasibility study.
Aldi have to eventually get planning permission for the new proposal and so we will watch with interest to see if the people of Todmorden will accept the loss of an asset that easily.
We prefer to work in collaboration with our local authorities, as we do on business flood and economic recovery. It is not our remit to be a campaigning organisation, but we stand ready to work for and to help develop opportunities for our communities to retain ownership of assets, particularly should there be a potential long-term and viable benefit to those communities. In this case we believe our study will support any group that seeks to persuade Calderdale that the Development Board were out of touch with the people who actually live in the town.
Should the Aldi proposal fall, be rejected or be withdrawn, we will remain ready to work with Calderdale, Todmorden council and all interested parties towards a viable use for the site. We would encourage the interested parties to continue working up their alternative plans.