Since Incredible Edible Mytholm created its online Petition yesterday, people have been emailing questions and comments to the IEM Secretary.
Here is a kind of generic response to commonly raised questions and comments about petition.
Thanks for your questions and comments, hope this helps with the discussion.
Do you know what supermarket it would be? And what is the planning application about if there is no supermarket?
The developer’s retail impact assessment statement is absolutely clear that no supermarket is associated with the planning application or is interested in locating on the site.
In a meeting with the developers’ agent (there are 2 site owners – Belmont Homes and Setbray) the agent explicitly told Incredible Edible Mytholm (as IEM Secretary I was there on behalf of IEM, along with another IEM management committee member) that the site owners are interested in selling IEM the site – but only once they had supermarket and hotel planning permission for the site, since this would radically increase the sale price of the site.
I think it’s quite unusual for a planning application for the construction of a supermarket and hotel not to have a supermarket and hotel associated with the application. In IEM’s view, this planning application is purely about whacking up the sale value of the site.
The developer’s retail impact assessment statement states that if any supermarket were to set up on the site, the HB market is appropriate for a Tesco or Asda at the higher end of the market, or a Lidl or Aldi at the budget end of the market. It wouldn’t attract a Booths or Sainsbury. If you read the figures in the retail impact assessment, you can see why no supermarket is forthcoming – a HB Tesco, Asda or Lidl would divert high proportions of trade from nearby Tescos, Asda or Lidl. Why would they want to do that?
It would be better to grow crops and cereals on pasture land and leave brownfield sites to development
IEM is not proposing to grow cereals on the site – that would clearly be uneconomic. It is proposing to create an intensive permaculture market garden to grow a variety of foodstuffs – fruit, vegetables. The upland pastures are not really suited to horticulture because of the wind and cold.
In addition to the permaculture market garden, IEM is also proposing to create a managed workspace for closed loop manufacturing – closed loop is the same principle as permaculture, in that nothing is wasted. The key advantages of the IEM proposed community owned business on the site is that it would honour the site’s designation as an employment site, by creating around 50 living wage full time jobs, and it would also significantly help the area’s transition to a low carbon economy, which is part of the National Planning Policy Framework’s aims.
These working businesses would also be the basis for an eco attraction where the public could find out about the kind of environmentally sustainable food, building and manufacturing processes that are going to have to become common in order to make the transition to a low/zero carbon economy. There would also be an eco hotel on site.
Hebden Bridge needs another supermarket
I think arguing about whether or not HB “needs” another supermarket is kind of neither here nor there in that no other supermarket apparently wants to set up here. But it’s interesting that the developer’s initial survey of public opinion in HB found that most people questioned didn’t think HB needed another supermarket.
And also, I don’t personally see the need for another supermarket. I do most of my food shopping at the Coop, supplemented by the market stalls and other local food shops. I’m on a low income, just above the threshhold for pension tax credit, so I’m not one of those shoppers for whom price doesn’t matter. I can eat well and within my food budget. So what’s the problem? If the coop is substandard in people’s opinion, it’s a membership organisation, so surely members can tell the Coop to get its act together? Maybe we get the Coop we deserve?
IEM’s forward thinking vision: a catalyst for green development
A Hebden Bridge resident said,
“The vision IEM has for the site is a forward thinking one. HB does need something other than “funkiness” to hang its hat on, and the IEM project if well funded would be an extremely positive central part of the life of the town and could be a catalyst for so much more green development, as well as promoting visits.”
Hope this answers the main questions people are asking, and please consider signing the IEM Petition to the Planning Committee, and then sharing it with your friends.