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From Maureen Ludlam

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

As a resident of St John's Close I am very saddened by the removal of the gate into the Close. I have lived in the Close for the last 20 years and it was used daily by Birchcliffe adults and children as a safe walking route to and from school and town as well as to visit other houses.

The wall next to the gate became unsafe and needed rebuilding. The owners took the opportunity to tie up the gate on the grounds of health and safety but they assured all who queried this that the gate would reopen when the wall was rebuilt. They now claim that the gate was 'a weak point in the wall' so they had no choice. This is patent nonsense. I would urge everyone who have used the gate to complete an evidence of use form and send it to the council. Calderdale can only act to have this traditional route reopened if they receive a minimum of 30 forms.

From Trizia

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

I'd like to add my voice to Maureen's and urge anyone who has used this short cut to submit a form to Calderdale Council. This is the second time in recent years that a long used path in the Bankside area has been closed by unilateral action - anyone else remember the route along the back of Birchcliffe Villas at the top of Bankside? These quirky little short cuts are an integral part of our town's character and it would be a great shame to lose another.

From Christine Clarke

Thursday, 19 August 2010

I'd like to add a comment to Ginnelgate. My house backs onto Bankside and I have regularly used the path several times a week. As well as being dismayed and inconvenienced that this path has been closed I am also sad that the foot prints of the past, the two large stone gate posts that held the wrought iron gate have been removed. I love finding clues to earlier times. It's very upsetting that this new wall obliterates any sign that there was ever a path there.

From Gwen Goddard

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Snickets and ginnels are part of the heritage of our town. I am dismayed that a resident should take it upon himself to remove a gate that has been in place without interruption for more than a century and replace it with a stone wall. He has thereby denied people access to a convenient and attractive route from Birchcliffe Road, through St.Johns Close and on to Stubbing Footpath and Bankside.

I am appalled that this resident did so with no consultation, the result of which is that he has antagonised not only his immediate neighbours and those who live nearby but also people from further away who have used this route from Birchcliffe to Bankside for a variety of reasons and over a long period of time.

The Ramblers and other walkers' organisations work hard to preserve urban paths which allow us to avoid busy roads and narrow pavements. The Birchcliffe Road is busy and has a narrow pavement and many children going to and from Stubbing School who previously have been able to walk away from this road will now be denied the alternative of a safe and pleasant route.

Anyone who feels as I do that this unilateral act should be challenged (and what has happened is highly questionable in law) is asked to e-mail Ian Turner, Rights of Way Section at Calderdale, at ian.turner@calderdale.gov.uk to ask that this wall be dismantled and the route reinstated.

From Dai Hallgarth

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

I also have a house on Bankside and was a regular user of this gate, the removal of which causes sadness and a degree of inconvenience. Like my neighbours, I was reassured by the owner that it would be reopened once the wall had been fixed. I was amused by the ingenuity of some in clambering over the obstacle, unable to do so myself owing to bad arthritis in my knees.

I wholeheartedly agree with all that has been said above by Maureen, Trizia, Christine and Gwen, particularly with regard to the local heritage significance of the route and its relative safety value.

On a purely personal level, the loss of this route is particularly irksome. My poor knees are no longer able to take advantage of the rare hereabouts, relatively level, route from my door to those of my friends, neighbours and family in St Johns Close, and on or adjacent to Birchcliffe Road.

I have used the route for over 30 years and have happy "Are we nearly home yet" memories shared with my three children (and late dog!) who grew up here and made / would still make, extensive and safe use of it.
The gate had its own unique sound if allowed to swing shut, possibly of annoyance to the present owner. However, from the distance of my kitchen, this served as a signal to put the kettle on or reach for the corkscrew when expecting guests from that direction. Now, sadly muted and much missed.

From John Dunford

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

I fully support the efforts to keep Ginnelgate as a public right of way. Too many routes which we assume are public rights of way are being challenged and we must all take action to keep them open. Even those of us who live in the hilltop villages need to ensure that our "urban " rights of way with in our villages are kept open and that well used paths are protected by being designated as "rights of way2. I wonder how many people realise that in Heptonstall there is no right of way through Weavers Square. Perhaps we should fill in the necessary forms to create one.

From Rev Tony Buglass

Thursday, 26 August 2010

I understood that if a presumed right of way was open and used over a period of time, it became a public right of way. That is why church councils have always been advised that a church car park should have a gate or chain which can be shut, and that it should be shut periodically - the usual tactic is to close it after Christmas morning service, and opened again the next morning. That would be enough to deny the route as a public right of way, while not impeding public use.

I don't see that Weavers Square can be shut off, and guess it never has been, so a public right of way has probably been established there. As to the Birchcliffe footpath, if the gate was closed by the owners on a regular basis, then the route may not be a public right of way, no matter how much it has been used and for how long. If, however, there has been a period when the lane could not be shut off and was not shut off, a right of way may have been established.

From Paul D

Thursday, 26 August 2010

If it's local heritage we're protecting then perhaps language and dialect should be part of that.

A ginnel is a narrow cut between houses and often (but not necesarily) has a roof, a snicket runs between houses, or walls, or fences - so it isn't techncially a ginnel and I personally don't know anyone who'd call it one. Ginnelgate should be snicketgate as the obstruction is off the snicket, not off a ginnel.

Pedantic perhaps - but when our heritage is being commodified and taken from us, sold back to us as an 'experience' then these minor things are quite irritating. And when local dialect is given the same treatment in schools that was given to Welsh in the last century - then it's a snicket - OK?

'ow a'ta - How art thou - an old English greeting that has survived for centuries in our rural communities - still to be heard if one opens one's ears.

a't'reet - often shortend to 't'reet or 'reet - art thou alright? Old English greeting common in the valley for centuries. Children now discouraged from using it.

Snicket - longer, no roof, not between houses, or at least not for its entire length.

Heritage - the thing nobody seems to really care about.

From Dai Hallgarth

Thursday, 26 August 2010

This is fascinating, Paul D. Until now, I have never heard the pathway called anything other than "the snicket". This has been the nomenclature used by neighbours, some of whom were from families who had lived on Bankside since the houses were built in the 1870s. The snicket replaced the earlier Stony Lane trail up the hillside.

Also, how far back should we go with our heritage dialects? Why stop at the English off-cumdens and their "How art thou"? What about the Britons, Romans, Norsemen, Normans and the rest?

And before the Celts? Maybe the true heritage greeting should be the grunt which may still be heard daily as folk pant and puff up our steep snicket.

From Rev Tony Buglass

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Well, speaking as a Geordie missionary to Yorkshire, I could only learn local language as it has been used by locals - perhaps I should stick to Greek and Hebrew! (They're easier!)

Where I come from, it would have been a cut or a lonnen. And we'd have been just as annoyed with anyone shutting it off. And just as concerned to preserve our heritage, Paul. You're right. Thanks for the language tuition - a'reet?

(Wey aye!)

From Andrew Hall

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Interesting observations, Paul D, but maybe not as clear cut as you suggest.

I've lost count of the number of times I have heard people discussing the differences between snickets and ginnels. Go into a local pub like the Fox and Goose, and ask ten local people to define both, and you'll almost certainly get ten different answers, all broadly speaking the same, but with maybe a few subtle differences. And the further afield you travel, you'll find that those subtle differences become more pronounced! To many, the two terms are interchangeable or even completely opposite. ( I have to admit, that, even having lived in Wakefield, Harrogate and Hebden Bridge, I've never heard mention of your observation that ginnels are often covered - in fact I would swear that they never are!)

But, of course, everyone is right. If you were brought up in Wakefield to understand that a snicket is a footpath between houses, and that's the local concensus, then there's no argument. And that's the point! If anyone comes along and tries to impose their definition of any particular regional or dialect word on a local community, then they're just as guilty of attempting to standardise the English language as a dictionary is!

But if we really must try to define, perhaps the last word should go to Arnold Kellett, who is considered to be the leading authority on Yorkshire dialect and tradition. His definitions (nice and general) are Ginnel: narrow passage between buildings or walls ('e couldn't stop a pig in a ginnel' said of a bow-legged man), and Snicket: passageway, especially when this is a short cut.

I don't think a gate in a wall is either a snicket or a ginnel. But it all depends on where you come from...

From Naomi Goddard

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Its great that this disscusion has started about the closing off of the footpath at St Johns Close. I live on this road and like everyone else was under the impression the wall was to be fixed and the gate reinstalled. It is difficult to describe how I felt when I discovered too late that this had not been the case.

You could argue that as a resident of the Close it would be in my interest for this hundred year plus path to be closed off but one of the many reasons I bought my house was because of this said same path which I have used on numerous occassions over the last 21 years.

It turns out that legally, according to my deeds and those of the other residents of the Sunday School development, the path should never have been blocked off as it removes the right of the residents of the development to use it - currently this appears to have had no influence on the actions of no. 4 and 4B St Johns Close

Unfortunately this looks likely to be a long drawn out legal battle and I cannot emphasis how important it is for people to fill in the Evidence of Use forms, providing any extra documentation such as photos of the gate etc. Even if you only ever used the gate once or for a small amount of time please still fill in the form as it all helps build up a picture of long term use

Anyway legally according to my solicitor I have the right to climb the wall so if you see me, my son, boyfriend, or anyone else for that matter, hopping over, give us a cheer

Referring back to a previous post, there being a gate does not prevent the path from becoming a right of way (public and permissive footpaths have many gates and stiles) The point is there is no evidence that the gate was locked in recent times and people in the town can vouch for many more then 20 years of undisputed use - its just this evidence needs to be presented to Calderdale so that their administrative and legal process can make the fair and right decision

From Maureen Ludlam

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Living opposite number 4 St John's Close I have seen the house change hands three times in the last 20 years. All the previous owners of the property respected the public use of the gate and the legal right of the other three owners of the Sunday school houses to have unobstructed back access to their homes and use of the ginnel gate.

Unfortunately the current owners gained permission to convert the property into three flats and since that time there has been constant problems with them trying to maximise the value of the flats at the expense of others. The former owner of number three lived there peaceably for over 20 years. She saw her garages frequently blocked and her back access denied. She had to resort to legal action. The strain of the protracted conversion next door severely affected her health and she was eventually forced to move. She was shouted at and intimidated as were others who tried to challenge their actions. She is an elderly lady who was recently widowed. It was shameful. I would urge all those in Birchcliffe who used the gate to take action to prevent its permanent removal.

From Andrew Bibby

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

I'm really pleased to hear that the blocking of the route through to St John's Close from the Stubbing ginnel is being the subject of local protest. I have always found this a really useful short cut through, and I'm unhappy that a landowner appears to be able to stop the public using it. The old iron gate which used to be there had its own particular rasping sound. 'Ginnelgate' was raised as an issue at the last meeting of HB Partnership, by the way.

From Angie Cairns

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The owner of 4 St John's Close is less a resident than a developer. He has seen fit in a densely populated and historic part of Hebden Bridge to innovate on an iconoclastic level: dividing the original property into modern suburban apartments and now tailoring the shared environs to his own whims. (in addition, he has previously sold off/given away the historic cross on the roof of the Sunday School building.) Just how more unsympathetic to and contemptuous of his surroundings and fellow residents can a person be?

From Gwen Goddard

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Ian Turner in the Rights of Way department of Calderdale is handling the appeal for the long established route from Birchcliffe Road through St. Johns Close to Bankside, via the wrought iron gate which has (illegally?) been removed, to be reinstated.

Ian says there have been a large number of Evidence of Use forms sent to him. In fact he said "they are coming in every day and I am still sending them out to others". But he also said the quality of evidence of use matters. He added that it is very important when filling in these forms that the whole route is drawn on the plan, i.e. through the length of St. Johns Close, not just a mark where the gate used to be.

If you have sent off an Evidence of Use form, then thank you. But if you are able to supplement this with any additional information such as times you used the route, the reason for doing so and even dates if you can recall them, it would all be of great help.

Completed forms and supplementary information should be sent to Ian Turner at Northgate House, Halifax HX1 1UN or details can be e-mailed to him at ian.turner@calderdale.gov.uk

And if you have ever used this route and have not yet completed an Evidence of Use form please do so. Click on Read More at the bottom of the news item on Ginnelgate on the Hebweb home page and you will find a link at the bottom of the article to enable you to download the form.

Thank you to everyone who is helping with this campaign to right a wrong.

From Patrizia Wells

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Thank for the update Gwen, it's good to know that people have responded in such numbers. Fingers crossed the gate and wall will have to be reinstated. The work seems to have been suspended for now and I understand that this is due to the drainage pipe beneath being damaged, more than likely by the wall work. The drain belongs to Calderdale, who will be inspecting it in the near future. Then presumably there will be a long dispute about who is liable for repairing it...

From David Hargreaves

Monday, 13 September 2010

I have read with interest the whole discussion regarding the ''rights of way'' issue, but am amazed that no one has picked up on the conservation angle. This is a conservation area and as I understand it, thanks to some simple internet research, any wall over 1 metre high requires planning permission before repair work.

A document I found on the Blackburn & Darwen Council site states, relating to conservation area work, ''Original fences, gates and walls should be kept and repaired, rather than replaced. If repair is not possible then identical units (in terms of design, materials, colours and finishes) should be sourced.''

Clearly the work falls seriously foul of this , not least of all in terms of quality and is of detrimental effect to Bankside, an integral part of Hebdens history. (Whilst on the subject I believe the satellite dish also contravenes conservation area rules).

So my message to all of you currently in talks with theCouncil re. rights of way, should redirect some of your attention to the Calderdale planning department and question them about how this work was allowed to go ahead without very strict controls.

From Dai Hallgarth

Monday, 13 September 2010

I was irritated when Paul D chose to divert the St Johns Close gate connection to our snicket into a debate about cultural heritage, dialect, and the distinction between 'snicket' and 'ginnel'. When you occupy a Hebden Bridge property (for goodness sake, Mr D, please don't start quibbling about this choice of word; by 'property' I mean dwelling, abode, house, place, domicile, lodging, residence, habitation, establishment, home, quarters, lodgings, pad, gaff, billet, jack-up, shelter, berth, crashpad, and anything else you can come up with to refer to a few walls with a roof) - when you occupy one of these, you take on various responsibilities, not the least of which is to your neighbours. It is living people who make the community into which you have moved, albeit with a nod to those who went before.

It is because of this awareness, surely, that we all make allowances, accept quirkiness and tolerate behaviour in our neighbours that may not be quite in accord with the way we might live in splendid isolation. The rewards are without measure. We benefit from discovering what makes other people tick, we are enriched by the diversity, we might even make friends! We get on with each other; we become 'neighbours'.

I moved to Hebden Bridge to work in the dwindling textile industry and I am proud of my contribution which assisted a traditional local business to continue to flourish for a few years against all the odds. The designs I created provided employment for my colleagues and placed a home-grown product on the seats of trains and buses all over the world. Needless to say, I was regarded as an off-cumden, but for the first time in my life I felt a real sense of belonging. I felt settled and at home and glad that I had been able to contribute commercially and spiritually not just through work but by supporting the local schools , Junior Band and all the other wonderful threads in the colourful tapestry that is our beautiful little town.

I love Hebden Bridge and all it offers and when we moved to our Bankside house 30 years ago I felt even closer to the heart of our community with all that sparkly life, vitality and richness. The recently-blocked gate was a key part of our little bit of this community. In my time, at least four Bankside neighbours kept their cars on St Johns Close and would regularly be seen walking up the snicket laden with shopping. A more recent neighbour would be seen carting industrial loads of fruit and veg in one direction and delicious pies and tarts in the other. Workmen would bring materials, cement mixers, ladders and scaffolding this way and even though I am fortunate to have a through house with street access on the other side, it was by far the easiest route for me to cart loads of rubble or garden waste to our car en route to the tip.

We had used the route through the gate even before moving to Bankside as it afforded a safe and pleasant route from our previous house to Stubbings School. On these journeys we were aware of many others doing exactly the same. When we moved, the gate provided the most direct route to friends and family living adjacent to St Johns Close or off Birchclife Road. We became and remain friends with the family who owned the land on which the gate stood.

Naturally, we were greatly reassured when the present owner explained that access would be reinstated as soon as he had effected repairs to the adjoining wall. We had no cause to assume that he was not being truthful. Nor, indeed, that he did not feel embraced by, and to have become a member of, the delightful, thriving community which is the very reason we chose to live, remain and raise a family in Hebden Bridge.

From Barbara Shepherd

Thursday, 16 September 2010

I lived in Cliffe St.in the 1930's, 40's and 50's and remember that people, including myself,used to pass freely through the gate from the Snicket to St.John's.

My husband came to live in Birch Villas/ St,John`s Close in 1952 and remembers that people frequently used the gate without hindrance.

In the early 1970's he bought the redundant Sunday School and converted it into 4 houses but there was never any question about the usage of the gate by people in the surrounding area.

From Mary Hutchings

Sunday, 19 September 2010

My family and I have visited Hebden Bridge for many holidays. We enjoy the history and quirky nature of the town and the amazing footpaths and cut throughs that link the different parts of the community. We have used the gate many times over the past 2 decades and are very sad that one individual can cause such distress and nuisance. When you move into a community you should become part of it rather than try to shut yourself off from it. This is especially true when the impact of actions, like closing the gateway, has such a detrimental effect on others. We hope that you will be supported in getting the gateway reopened.

From Angela Cairns

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Yesterday's community wall-climb was wonderful: a strong-spirited and good-humoured determination to assert long-standing rights and express community esprit de corps.

I was incensed, then, to hear one young man present, rather carelessly it has to be said, bandying around the term 'hate campaign' and 'vitriole' in relation - I had to infer - to the way we as a hillside and wider community were 'treating' Mr Steel, the developer at No. 4 St John's Close. Unable to keep my counsel when this calumny was so close at hand as to be audible to many, I invited the young man concerned to take a look at the Hebweb discussion thread and at the series of letters to the editor of the HBT and to find any evidence of anything other than intelligent, dispassionate and courteous dialogue.

And further, Mr Steel? I didn't hear anyone even mention his name yesterday or refer to him in any way. I am trying to be sympathetic to any twisting he may do of our words and deeds, seeing them by turn as understandable paranoia, non-understandable and deliberate maligning and misrepresentation, and/or referring to some other party altogether (who, for example, are his 'night-time prowlers'?). As Gwen Goddard has so eloquently reminded us, we don't care a fig for confrontation and invective (can we say the same of Mr Steel himself?) - all we care about is getting our gateway re-opened.

Well done and congratulations to everyone involved in yesterday's 'ascent'. and to see the Singers there in force and cheering us on in song was truly stirring. Thank you.

From Tom Black

Monday, 20 September 2010

I've been following this issue keenly having visited Hebden Bridge on many happy sunny occasions.

It struck me that the other side of this story hasn't been presented..... is there a bias on comments being posted?

(Messages here are the ones received on this topic - ed)

From Gwen Goddard

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Tom, maybe this thread appears to be one-sided because there is no defence for the action of the resident who took away the gate.

From Angela Cairns

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

and perhaps one can detect utter unanimity? Truly one voice? Certainly any detracting voice could speak if it wished to.

From Clare Stanley

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

I cannot believe that a set of grownups are taking such a childish hate campaign against these people.

Yes protect the conservation rights, however what we have to remember is that these people have lives. How would any of you feel if somebody was victimising you the way that you're victimising them, this is disgraceful. have you ever thought about working with these people to resolve a problem!!

Have you ever thought that this is now affecting everyday life, what if somebody said to you the colour of your front door doesn't fit with the area and started sending you hate mail!!

What happened to community, what happened to working together for the common good, what happened, to love thy neighbour! All your considering is your own thoughts and feelings, your contributing to a broken society and you should all be disgusted with yourself and the example your showing your children!

This is a wall for Christ's sake that leads to a set of garages, please get some perspective in life!!

How would like to have all and sundry walking around your garden at all times of the day, peering through your windows and skulking around your patio doors, I'm sure you would have something to say then!

By the way if we like being petty where did the spire go from the top of the St John's Church, wasn't that part of our heritage too!!

From Maureen Ludlam

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

I am glad that you have responded with such passion Clare but the facts are simple. The gate had been there for 150 years and was used by the public and the four households of the ex Sunday school who had a legal right to use it. It was a right of way in common law by reason of its uninterrupted use over a period of many years.

If the gate caused a problem then there should have been full discussions with those who used it and with the appropriate council departments before its removal. Since that time anyone who has challenged the removal has been shouted at.

Radio Leeds called to give interviews today. The householders involved in its removal were invited to comment. They did not do so. Instead, those of us who spoke to the reporter were visited and ordered to ring Radio Leeds and cancel the broadcast. We all want to live in peace and harmony and be considerate of others. The solution is simple, put the gate back and everyone will shut up and we can all get on with our lives.

From Clare Stanley

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The point seems to be that you have not responded with reasonable discussion and gone bounding forward with your campaign, I have read this discussion, and this concerns me that the purpose of the building has been also changed for many years, therefore giving those people involved common law rights of privacy and trespass!.

What you have to think about, that this gate doesn't give anything back to the community it just gives you a cause to disrupt peoples lives and if possible a purpose for your deprived little one.

There are two sides to a story and obviously your side reflects the bigoted nature that inflicts attitudes in a small community. Again small communities should work together not against each other, which you seem to enjoy.

Not all conservation rights should be brought back or we would have a hang mans noose on every street corner! Or maybe that would prefreable to yourself as I believe you have already tried and convicted your neighbours already!

What's next grave robbing and ritual sacrifices, please find a purpose which helps the community to work together, instead of instilling ill feeling and hatred, and at least your adding value instead of taking local community spirit away!

Also have you ever thought that sending the media doesn't always invoke a response?

The media is only interested in the negative as negative behaviour sells, most decent human beings don't want confrontation on their doorstep.

This gate was not a public right of way, the buildings purpose has changed, which is the case for a lot of the properties in Hebden Bridge, it is no longer a Sunday school, there is no need to cut through to get to the Church as that has been converted again the only purpose to use this path would be to disrupt people's lives by making a ridiculous and useless point!

From Christine Clarke

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

I was puzzled when I read Clare's letters, her portrayal of the actions and feelings of the people campaigning to get the gate reinstated are inaccurate. Everyone who wants the gate reinstated is peaceful and friendly and willing to talk to resolve the matter. There is definitely not any hate campaign against the people who took the gate away, nor does anyone want to disrupt their lives.

It is true that the use of the Sunday school building has been changed, but it is also true that the path concerned is on the deeds of the people who live there now and is their legal right of way. The path should't have been closed and the gate removed.

From Angie Cairns

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

I'm sorry but if Clare Stanley's is going to be the new level of discussion on this hitherto thoughtful and significant Thread, then I withdraw. Thank you, HebWeb, for representing all our views thus far.

From Angie Barrs

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

I've lived in the one-time mission church/Sunday school in St John's Close for over twenty years. Until about five years ago, it was a small cul-de-sac where neighbours, whether on the privately-owned or public part of the road, respected each other's needs.

For those of us in the old Sunday school, this included the right of access as residents out of and into our own back doors and back and forth through the gate onto Bankside. Previous owners of No 4 understood and respected our right of access over part of their land, and the community's use of the gateway to school, work or visiting friends and neighbours.

In recent years, we have been denied lawful use of this route around the building even to and from our own back doors. It is not pleasant to be shouted at going about your lawful business. Nor is it pleasant to have your front door thumped when you walk away from the shouting.

Intimidation like this has been the experience of several of us. As Mo Ludlam mentioned in an earlier post, it became so unbearable that one of our neighbours moved away.

A catalogue of such incidents culminated in 'Ginnelgate' when the wider community became appalled. Individuals were told that when the collapsed wall was repaired, the gate would be re-installed. Overnight, those people realised the opposite had happened. It is hard to remain positive when you discover you're one of many who were told the same story. Last Saturday's wall-climb was a delightful, cheery coming together of people who understand respect for other people.

From Rev Tony Buglass

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Clare, I simply do not recognise the people I know from your description. I used to live just a few doors away, I have known some of the folk in St John's Close since we came to Hebden Bridge, and to call this a 'hate campaign' by 'bigotted' people is a farcical caricature.

The person who took away the gate did it illegally, with deliberate deception, and not a little menace to those who tried to reason with him. I have sat and listened, and felt pain and hurt coming from kind, gentle and decent people, and it was all caused by his actions.

The 'direct action' on Saturday was fun. It was gentle, non-threatening, non-confrontational (well, it had to be - he had gone out for the day) - the primary object as far as I and my friends who sang were concerned was to give support and encouragement to friends who had been bruised by someone who was supposed to be a neighbour. If you have problems at work, you can leave them behind. If you have problems where you live, it's always lying in wait, you can never relax, you never know when the next knock at the door or angry diatribe will come. Some lovely people have been hurt, and are still under pressure. They do have the law on their side, and I expect it will resolve the issue with the reinstatement of the gate. It's a great pity that it has to be this way, because that will not be the end of it, will it? The people in St John's Close will still have to live as neighbours, and having fought each other in court will be bound to leave scars.

All because of one high-handed person who took the law into his own hands. That's the truth of the matter - don't blame the protestors.

From Dai Hallgarth

Thursday, 23 September 2010

I am puzzled and saddened at Clare Stanley's comments. This is not "a wall for Christ's sake that leads to a set of garages". Apart from all the other users of the route, I and my family have used it almost daily for over 30 years. It was one of the many reasons for settling where we did. I also fail to understand where hatred comes into this. Ms Stanley says "What happened to community, what happened to working together for the common good, what happened, to love thy neighbour". I felt so neighbourly to the person who is "hated", that I applied for planning permission to remove a beautiful tree from my garden to allow more daylight into his property. Before I chopped it down, he used to hang a bird feeder from it.

Oh, and by the way, Ms Stanley, I am very happy to work with people to "resolve a problem" and didn't make a fuss when contractors employed by my neighbour helped themselves to stones from my garden to prop their ladders and deposited rubbish there

When I bought the piece of land opposite my Bankside house, it never occurred to me that I might have been able to count on the support of Ms Stanley in cordoning off a portion of the snicket so that I could prevent "all and sundry" occasionally entering my garden or back yard, urinating, damaging my property and discarding litter. It happens; I don't like it but this is how some of our townspeople choose to act.

I have been away from Hebden Bridge since June, and was very surprised to hear about this wall as the last thing my St John's Close neighbour had said to me was that the gate would be reopened as soon as the adjacent wall had been repaired. He explained there was a delay sorting out the insurance. He did not say that he was planning to extend the wall.

From Paul D

Thursday, 23 September 2010

I find the protests over this quite reassuring. It's very easy to stand back and do nothing when others seek to undermine the fabric our community.

And just for the record, this is not about heritage it's about culture. There's a strong culture of neighbourliness in Hebden Bridge. The houses are packed back to back and literally stacked one on top of the another, many were constructed around local factories and because of this a whole maze of footpaths, snickets and ginnels link the streets.

People shared outside toilets, washing was hung across streets on Mondays, children would be looked after by neighbours as their parents split shifts, to live in such close proximity required a high level of cooperation - this too is part of our culture - one of getting on with each other and looking out for our neighbours.

Perhaps the person who blocked the path used by the community for generations has been the victim of crime, or were seeking to increase the value of their property. Perhaps they just don't like people passing their house, or want to protect their tenants. What's clear however, is that their actions have upset their near neighbours and upset the wider community. So I think there is a need for discussion but I also suspect that the social and emotional development of the individual could be retarded. They may be a good parent, or a good friend, but they don't appear to be a very good neighbour and like a hormonally imbalanced teenager, they don't appear to be aware of the impact of their behaviour on others. In short - they're socially autistic.

From Annabel Nairn

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

I am horrified about the ginnel"closure" and would like to say I have used this snicket with my Grandfather(Arthur Cunliffe) from earliest memories. I am a "war baby" born 1941, now living in Halifax. Grandad lived at Sandal Street, and later moved to Bankside.

We always used used the lovely snicket, as we called it, sometimes several time a day, to go "Down t`Brigg".

Also Uncle Jim Cunliffe lived in Cliffe St for many years -- he will be remembered as the shoe repairer at the end of Albert Street, until he retired to live near his daughter, my cousin, Elaine, in Beverley.

I visit him 2-3 times a year. taking him the Hebden Bridge Times, so will tell him of your snicket problem. I am in e mail contact with Elaine, so maybe she could send an e mail offering support from her father and mother if that would help, sadly they are both housebound, now.

I will try to get down to look at the blockage, and will endeavour to support your campaign in any way I can help
Annabel Nairn

From Dai Hallgarth

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Annabel, thank you for your concern. The snicket itself is safe - as far as we know! The blockage is at a route off it - via the gate opposite the side of Stubbings School, connecting through to what is now known as St John's Close and leading on to the back lane of the Birchcliffe Road houses. You'd remember it as the gate that took you to the ground between the church and the Sunday school, both of which are now converted to housing.

From Dai Hallgarth

Sunday, 3 October 2010

When I went away in June, my St John's Close neighbour appeared sufficiently concerned as to the public's health and safety that he swathed the gate in copious quantities of red and white tape complete with explanatory notices as to the reason for the blockage.

This week I returned home to Hebden Bridge and was perturbed to find stones strewn dangerously on the snicket, a substantial, unfenced, drop into an excavated sewer pipe and no warnings, taping-off or lighting to protect and alert passers by at night.

Please note our forum guidelines, especially with regard to contributors using genuine names and email addresses. Thanks - ed

Graham Barker has started a separate thread for Old words and dialect so as 'not to divert attention from the serious business of getting Ginnelgate resolved'.

See also:

Hebweb News - Tuesday, 17 August 2010