Todmorden divided over store plan on Shipman surgery site

How the proposed store would look. Inset, Harold Shipman

How the proposed store would look. Inset, Harold Shipman

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

FRESH plans for a new Asda supermarket in Todmorden — on the site of an old cinema and medical centre — have divided the town.

The supermarket giant already has planning permission for the old Abraham Ormerod surgery and Olympia cinema site in Burnley Road. But while there was talk of retaining the Olympia’s art deco frontage back in 2011, the new proposals would see both buildings bulldozed.

More than 30 residents each have voiced support and protests over the scheme, which follows a planning inspector’s rejection of a similar bid for land off Halifax Road.

Supporter Julian Pickering said: “I support this application as it will bring much-needed jobs to the area and remove two buildings which quite frankly have become eyesores. They are enough to turn people away from the town.”

But objector Stephanie Crabtree said: “Todmorden is a small pretty town which has two supermarkets already. The detrimental impact that this will have on our market traders and small shops will be devastating and the traffic increase will be horrendous and dangerous.”

The new application, unlike its predecessor, also has a petrol station pencilled in, which has led to concerns over tanker deliveries.

Network Rail has also lodged an official objection, claiming that Asda has incorporated some of its own land into the scheme.

Town councillors will debate their response when their planning committee meets tomorrow.

The medical centre is where Dr Harold Shipman began his career, before resigning over a drugs conviction.

He was implicated in one Todmorden death and suspected of involvement in six more.

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