RESIDENTS are sending an SOS call to Pennine Housing - Save Our Shop.
People living on the Stoney Lane estate are rallying round their local shop in a bid to prevent Pennine Housing from demolishing the block which is unoccupied bar the convenience shop.
More than 450 people have signed a petition set up by shop owner, Shila Patel, who found out about the proposals by one of her customers.
“I wasn’t aware of any kind of meeting between residents and Pennine Housing which took place late last year but as soon as I found out I started up the petition,” said Mrs Patel, who lives at the premises with her husband Vipul.
“All my customers have signed the petition because they agree that it needs to stay.”
Residents approached Pennine Housing, who own the block, at the end of last year in a bid to get something done about the building which has been left to decay over the past 11 years.
But at the meeting Pennine Housing said reinstating them would not be cost effective and suggested redeveloping the site.
Mrs Patel, has been overwhelmed by the support from the community. “This shop provides a valuable service especially during the winter weather when we are peoples lifeline,” said Mrs Patel, who took over the running of the shop in August. “I just want to know what is happening and where my future stands.”
Lily Williams and Jan Germain, who are members of the Stoney Lane Residents’ Association, both support the petition.
Mrs Williams said: “It is very important. There is a lot of pensioners around here and if this shop goes the closest will be in Bailiff Bridge or at Hipperholme. Everyone you speak to wants it to stay.”
Mrs Germain added: “When we had the bad weather we had no buses and this shop was paramount. Some of the flats are massive as well and they are just sat there empty for over 11 years. They are losing money. It just seems silly when people are looking for places to live. We did bring up with Pennine Housing about renovating the block four years ago but nothing has happened.”
The petition has been handed in to Calderdale Council by Councillor Graham Hall (Con, Hipp/Light). He said he wanted to find a solution.
“This could be achieved by either retaining the existing shop unit which is providing a valuable local facility to the community, or ensuring that when any redevelopment takes place, where the existing shops are situated, that part of the new build includes a new shop for the current owners to occupy with living accommodation above or adjacent to it for them.”