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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Hebden Bridge Partnership looks ahead to 2020

How can Hebden Bridge be a better place to live and work in 2020? This is the question which members of Hebden Bridge Partnership have set themselves, as they begin work on a new Action Plan for the town. The Action Plan, which will be published in draft form in the summer, will aim to identify a series of achievable projects to improve the town’s community life and the health of the local economy.

The Hebden Bridge Partnership is the ‘town team’ which brings together representatives of voluntary and community organisations, the local business community, the town and parish councils and Calderdale council. First established more than ten years ago, it has helped bring about a number of significant changes in the town, including the pedestrianisation of the town centre. It was also the lead body for the early stages of the development of Hebden Bridge Town Hall. The new document will replace the Action Plan originally produced in 2005, which established a set of priority projects for the town. Most of these are now either successfully achieved or in the process of being achieved.

“We will be putting forward ideas for a vibrant, creative and sustainable community. There are things we have already identified which could be achieved relatively easily, such as improvements to the old tennis courts and bowling green in the park. We want to progress the plans to relocate and improve the town’s market, and to ensure our independent shops can continue to flourish,” says Andrew Bibby, who took over as Chair from Robin Dixon this month. Andrew Bibby was previously a trustee of Hebden Bridge Community Association, the charitable trust which runs the Town Hall.

The Partnership hopes that its draft Action Plan will promote widespread discussion and debate. “At this stage, the emphasis will be on thinking big, and seeing just what may be possible. Hebden Bridge is a strong community and, even though the financial climate is terrible, we’re sure that, with enough will, things are possible to achieve,” Andrew Bibby adds.

The draft Action Plan will be put forward for widespread public discussion in the summer, and will then be revised in the light of comments received. It will then be available as a resource if the town decides to produce a formal Neighbourhood Plan. Under recent legislation Neighbourhood Plans can be used to help establish planning priorities. In Hebden Bridge’s case the town council would be the lead body in producing this.

More information about the Partnership can be obtained from Andrew Bibby on HB 844026. The 2005 Action Plan can still be consulted here.

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