Discussion Forum
Old Brown Factory site/Supermarket

From Joel B
Thursday, 10 December 2009

The old Brown factory site has been empty for years now, I can remember it burning down, I was only about 11 or 12 I think so about 20 years ago?

I seem to remember something about planning permission for houses being granted? I might be wrong.

I don't think Hebden Bridge really needs more houses, I have lived here all my life and would struggle with my family to buy a new-build on a site like that, as I'm sure most people born and bred in Hebden would.

Why not sell to a supermarket chain? Asda, morrrisons, Tescos? There could even be a petrol station with it. How much easier would it make life on a Saturday morning !! I have spoken to friends and neighbours who also have lived here all their lives and they all think it a fantastic idea and have even thought of this themselves !! Who were those people protesting at the Jamie Oliver advert to keep sainsburys out of Hebden?!

That site would also be well out of the way of the town centre, leaving the tourists to do their usual visiting !!

From Jon L
Friday, 11 December 2009

If I remember correctly the planning permission is for a development consisting of 20-30 houses. Given the current housing need in HB and the low density of this development it looks like a good fit for this site.

In the early 90's Tesco looked at this site. A large supermarket would be terrible for HB and the upper valley. Increased traffic volumes, traffic delays for people turning onto the site, let alone the impact on the local shops.

I for one am really proud of HB and its independent shops, there's not much you can't buy in the town without having to travel to a major supermarket.

From Myra James
Monday, 14 December 2009

This site has planning permission for a mixed use development of 58 residential units and 2500 sq metres commercial use. See Plans. Approval was given on 11 March 2008 and the developers have three years in which to commence work. It's hardly surprising no start has been made on a residential development of this size in the current market. I don't know whether there has been any interest in the commercial part of the site.

If the housing/commercial development doesn't take place, I agree with Jon L. that the last thing we want there is a supermarket - it would be a disaster for Hebden Bridge.

My personal preference would be a leisure centre and swimming pool but as no developer has suggested anything like this I expect this is unlikely.

From Andrew Hall
Monday, 14 December 2009

I'm with Joel B on this one.

Maybe not a Tesco / Morrisons / Asda, but a smaller store. As you will see if you delve back into the Hebweb archives, I suggested that Booths would be an ideal fit into Hebden Bridge. It's a family owned chain of maybe 10-12 stores, centred on Preston. It has a reputation for sourcing locally wherever possible, and has a superb range of products.

I actually wrote to their Chairman, Edwin Booth, some years ago. He reckoned that Hebden Bridge was exactly the sort of town they could do business in.

If you've not heard of them, got to Clitheroe, Ilkley, Settle or Kirkby Lonsdale and you'll see the standards they set and quality on offer.

So many people from here do their weekly shop in Tesco's and Asda in Halifax. Far from detracting from the existing local shops, a new store could well encourage people to stay put and buy in Hebden Bridge.

From Andrew H
Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Booths would be a great addition to the town. I have dealt with them as a supplier for nearly 9 years and they are very good to deal with. They support lots of local businesses and are ethical in their trading. They are bigger than Andrew suggests and now have 26 stores and they appear to be quite selective when choosing new locations.

The issue I see is their pricing. It is significantly above the major multiples and there would undoubtably be some backlash from many of Hebden's dwellers.

From Jack Hughes
Friday, 18 December 2009

Surely you can't mean that they're more expensive than our beloved Co-op?!

From Billy Painter
Sunday, 27 December 2009

Does Hebden Bridge really need a big supermarket? It'd bring even more traffic to the area and there would be a lot of congestion I feel.

I also feel that it takes away the reputation and good will of supporting independant shops and businesses, isn't that part of the Hebden ethos? And when it is not possible to support our independant shops, I have found Spar and The Cooperative perfectly adequate.

From John Marsden
Tuesday, 29 December 2009

As a recent newcomer to the town (moved here in November) I've got to say that the Co-Op supermarket is IMHO far from adequate - their idea of stock control is a joke (no milk!? no bread!?), and items seem to go through the tills at double the stated shelf prices. Add to that the (under) staffing problem, and I'm afraid I now get the bus to Tescos (being disabled, this is when I can manage it) also Tescos don't have slippy wet floors.

From Myra J
Wednesday, 30 December 2009

I think many of us have our gripes about the Co-op. I would agree with John Marsden that stock control leaves a lot to be desired. However, at the same time I feel sure that supermarkets that manage to keep shelves over-flowing with produce at all times do so only at the expense of a lot of waste. I don't believe that items go through the till at double price routinely as suggested, or that "slippy wet floors" are the norm.

The latest re-fit at HB Co-op was a significant improvement - especially the re-opening of the Market Street entrance and restoration of our much-missed notice board. The Co-op has its faults but has an ethical policy of longer standing than similar efforts by other stores jumping belatedly on the bandwagon. As a co-op it is owned by its members, who have the option to attend members' meetings and become involved in policy-making. I find that the Co-op along with other, smaller shops in town meet my needs quite adequately. The arrival of major supermarket would place all of that at risk.

From Jack Hughes
Wednesday, 30 December 2009

This thread seems to be running the risk of turning into another "criticise the Co-op" exercise (nothing wrong with that in itself) - so here are a couple of useful contacts for those who might wish to air their grievances directly, then maybe we can get back on-topic...

Co-op customer services can be contacted on 0800 0686727 or at

Consumer Direct (to report overcharging, elderly food etc.)

Also, there is a local Facebook group which may be of interest/amusement -

And if I might just add my tuppennyworth... personally I've no desire to see another supermarket open in Hebden, particularly not one of the major chains. It's just a pity that the improvements made to the Co-op a few months ago seem mainly cosmetic, and the old problems largely remain.

From Janice S
Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Much as I love the Booths supermarkets, I wouldn't want to see one in HB because of the impact it would have on our small delis and other shops. The Co-op is better than it used to be - there seem to be problems with supplies at the moment but I imagine that's because of the weather.

If the site isn't contaminated, it might be possible for a community group to lease the land for temporary allotments. The Guardian reports:

'The government aims to develop a "meanwhile" lease to formalise arrangements between landowners and voluntary groups by encouraging people to set up temporary allotments or community gardens on land awaiting development or other permanent use.'