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Hebden Bridge Partnership’s public meeting - report

Friday, 24 March 2017

Here's a report of some of the main points from yesterday evenings Hebden Bridge Partnership public meeting:

Great British High Street Award

Geoff Matthews (Chair of HB Business Forum) gave a lively account of how Hebden Bridge has successfully been chosen for the Great British High Street award. This was an award, begun in 2014, which had grown each year. In 2016 there were 900 entries and 42 finalists (in all categories). Hebden Bridge was shortlisted for the Best Small Market Town award as one of three finalists (the two other towns were Thame and Chipping Norton).

The award required extensive use of social media, which Eileen Kelly had coordinated.

At the awards ceremony Hebden Bridge was not only announced as the winner in its category, but also won a second award as the People’s Choice. 40,000 votes had been received online for the town!

Heart Gallery had also been shortlisted in the separate category for best Twitter shop.

Geoff added that places were still available for a Digital Training event being held on 5 April in the Town Hall.

Hebden Bridge Market

Calderdale’s markets officer John Walker introduced this item. He pointed out that Hebden Bridge had had a market for over a hundred years. There had been talk of relocating the market for a very long time, and the move was now happening in two weeks’ time.

Thereafter, the market would be in Lees Yard. The traditional market would be on Thursdays, as at present. The Weds market would move to Friday. A new market, focused on local products and art work, would operate on Saturdays and the farmers market would be on Sundays. Book fairs were another possibility.

John had established a small market focus group, to feed in comments and suggestions. Dave Young represented the Partnership on this body.
The new market building included toilets for the traders, and storage space for the stalls. There was a possibility that it could have a green roof.

Hebden Bridge & Mytholmroyd Development Board

Cllr Jane Scullion explained the background to the new Town Board, which would meet for the first time the following week. Its remit would be to coordinate the approach to regeneration locally, by working with local communities. It would meet in public and be composed of seven councillors (three from Calderdale and four from the town council) and seven community representatives (two each from HB Partnership and Royd Regeneration, one from HB Community Association, one from HB Business Forum and one place (jobshare) from the business community in Mytholmroyd). There had been a competitive process for the community places, following an advert in the local press. Two Cabinet representatives would also be members.

Jane said that the Board would hold four meetings a year. Its themes initially would be infrastructure development (including digital infrastructure); placemaking, sustainability and economic viability; flood resilience. The first meeting would be on Thurs 30 March, 5pm, in the Erringden Room, Mytholmroyd.

Jane responded to questions from the floor, including questions over whether the Board required extra taxpayers money and the need to elect community representatives democratically. The problem of slow upload speeds in the town was raised.

Local Plan and Neighbourhood Plan

Anthony Rae briefly explained the progress of Calderdale’s Local Plan, and the Neighbourhood Plan covering Hebden Royd and the four rural parishes. The government had set a requirement of 17,500 houses (13,500 sites) in the borough by 2032. Calderdale was proposing in the Local Plan that the overwhelming majority of these would be in the lower valley. Hebden Bridge it was proposed would have just 150 houses. Callis Mill and Valley Rd were among the sites identified. The Neighbourhood Plan, which would require a local referendum, would be published very shortly after the Local Plan.

Making Hebden Bridge Accessible for All
Andrew Bibby gave a progress report on this joint HB Partnership/ Community Foundation project. The Foundation had funded an access audit of local buildings, shops and outdoor spaces, which had been undertaken by Chris Cammiss. Around 30 shops had taken part. Grants of up to around £3,000 were available to fund work identified by Chris in his reports, and Andrew urged local businesses to apply.

A seminar to report on the project would be held on Mon May 8, 2pm-4pm in Hebden Bridge Town Hall, and all were welcome. There was also a forthcoming disability awareness training day being staged on April 3rd, 6pm-8pm in the Town Hall.

Flooding update
Anthony Rae gave a short report on the work being coordinated by the Environment Agency. He said that the EA would be holding a consultation in late April or May. Since some of the remedial work would not be completed until 2020, there was a window of vulnerability until then, he said.

The issue of moorland drainage being undertaken on the Walshaw and Lancashire Moors estate was raised. There was concern at the actions of the landowner which could mean that the moors retained less water.

Hebden Bridge Partnership’s Spring public meeting

Friday, 17 March 2017

From the Hebden Bridge Partnership

We are delighted to be welcoming Calderdale’s markets officer John Walker to the meeting. The Hebden Bridge market is set to move to its new site in Lees Yard very shortly after Easter and will run in future four days a week. John will be sharing the council’s ideas for how to develop the market – but there will be a real opportunity at the meeting to feed in your ideas.

We’ve also arranged to hear at first hand the story of how Hebden Bridge won the ‘Great British High Street’ award. Eileen Kelly unfortunately can no longer be with us, but her place is being taken by Geoff Matthews who was also very involved in the successful bid.

Talking of the visitor economy, the 2017 Visitors’ leaflet to the town should – all being well! – be back from the printers, and ready to be formally launched. This leaflet, now in its fourth year, is produced by Hebden Bridge Partnership.

We thought we’d also include some shorter items as well on the agenda, which we think will be of interest.

Cllr Jane Scullion, the chair of the soon-to-be-established Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd Development Board, will explain the strategic role which the board will be able to play in local economic and community initiatives. This is a Calderdale council initiative, with strong community input (it is being welcomed by the Partnership).

Anthony Rae will be offering a short update on the development of two key planning documents, Calderdale’s Local Plan and our own Neighbourhood Plan (the latter being overseen by the town council).

The Partnership’s secretary Andrew Bibby will give a short report on the progress of the Making Hebden Bridge Accessible to All initiative, a joint Partnership/Community Foundation venture. He’ll be giving details of an end-of-project seminar to be held on Mon May 8 (2pm-4pm, HB Town Hall).

All in all, we think we have the makings of a valuable and stimulating evening.