Full house at public meeting

Thursday, 3 May 2007

There was a full house last night at the lively public meeting at The White Lion, Hebden Bridge.

The meeting was called to discuss recent developments and improvements in Hebden Bridge and surrounding villages and to consider setting up an independent, non-political forum to oppose unsympathetic development and to promote development that is more in-keeping with the character of the town and surrounding villages.

Nick Wilding chaired the meeting and the public were invited to voice their concerns, which included:

  • The development of the square and why more consultation with local people wasn't sought.

  • The recent arrival of chainsaws at Mayroyd and subsequent felling of 25-30 trees created an enormous amount of noisy debate.

  • The proposed multi-storey car park on Garden Street and how beneficial this would be in the long run - it was suggested it would only ultimately provide an extra 31 parking places. There were suggestions that this car park be better placed near the railway station.

  • The "wavy steps" and the lack of benches for people visiting River Walk and much controversial discussion about their suitability generally. One lady suggested it be put back as it was - as the stone sets by the bridge had been.

  • The benches in the square? Many of these benches had plaques on in remembrance of loved ones. The meeting was told these benches were piled up in a council yard somewhere. There was a call that they be retrieved and used at River Walk.

  • Discussion about the fustian knife being so heavy it had had to be re-done in wood. Was this hearsay or rumour.

  • Parking problems throughout the area were discussed at length. Why was Market Street and Burnley Road near the station so congested with parked cars? The development of anything more (the old Fire Station site) on Hangingroyd Lane was said to be disastrous as parking was already causing huge problems.

  • There was a feeling that the new development had added to the problems rather than solving things.

  • The high cost of public transport, particularly bus fares, which wasn't encouraging people to leave their cars at home.

  • The need for more social housing.

  • Litter collection on Calder Holmes came up as a priority.

  • How people could be kept up to date with planning applications and developments locally. The Hebweb was mentioned several times but a show of hands in the room indicated a lot of people were not on the internet. A newsletter was suggested. More information it was suggested could be in the local paper or the Town council newsletter. There was too much reliance on hearsay and rumour. Too many decisions made by Calderdale. We had no sub committee - Bradford had 5. We should push for devolved decision making.

It was stressed that the remit of the proposed group was for "Hebden Bridge and surrounding villages". To reflect this Hebden Royd was suggested as opposed to Hebden Bridge for any working title.

There was discussion about whether this groups function was to be any different from other groups already in existence - Town Planning, Renaissance and others. David Fletcher mentioned that there were plans to develop Calder Holmes as a focal point for recreation and Conference Centre, that Central Street was finally being repaired, there were plans to stop the selling off of the Town Hall and keeping it for local use, and Youth House was to become an Eco Museum and hub of celebration of local life.

It was said this group's function might fall into the category previously carried out by the Civic Trust.

The meeting ended with a suggestion that people go away and consider what form the group was to take.

The next meeting was arranged for the evening of 13th June at 7.30 upstairs at the White Lion.

Many thanks to Fran Robinson of the
Mytholmroyd Net for the above report

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