Holcombe Mill in Ramsbottom
Sainsbury’s Supermarkets have confirmed that they are looking at acquiring and developing a 40,000 sq ft food store at the Mondi Paper Mill site on Bridge Street, Ramsbottom with a 250 space car park – over twice the size of the current Aldi Supermarket site.
The Mondi Paper Mill site has been empty for the last 3 years and is in the process of being demolished.
Sainsbury’s have commenced consultations with the owner of the site and Bury Council with a view to acquiring and developing a food store on the site.
I do not welcome this proposal. Ramsbottom already has three supermarkets in the town centre all within a few hundred yards of each other.
Ramsbottom is a small town, with just 11,000 residents. Ramsbottom already has excellent food and drink shops, butchers, bakers and delicatessens. We have a wealth of small independent shops. There is also a traditional weekly market, a monthly farmers’ market and non-food outlets. Most of these businesses would be ruined by the arrival of a fourth supermarket, with irreversible damage to the character of our special market town. Are Sainsbury’s seriously saying that after doing their weekly shop at Sainsbury’s residents will then walk into town to buy products that are all sold by Sainsburys?
Bury Council and the Ramsbottom traders have spent a considerable amount of time and effort promoting Ramsbottom as a tourist destination. To have a large supermarket next to a heritage steam railway station does not make any sense whatsoever.
In addition, the traffic on Bridge Street is already extremely heavy as it is the main route into Ramsbottom. The Mondi Paper Mill site is at a busy junction. Ramsbottom just could not cope with extra lorries and traffic generated by yet another supermarket. Access would be a major problem.
There are also issues regarding flood and contamination at the site. It is also an important heritage site and is within Ramsbottom Conservation Area.
Whilst everyone in the town wants the area to be redeveloped and for jobs to be created in Ramsbottom, any development at that site has to be sympathetic to the aspirations of the town to be a premier tourist destination.
Sainsbury’s have said that they will consult with local residents and businesses. I hope they do listen and decide not to proceed with their proposal.
I will update you as soon as I have some more news.