THE Tarpaulin and scaffolding that has hidden work going on to Hebden Bridge Town Hall for what seems like an eternity has finally been removed - and what has been revealed?
A huge, ugly building that now dominates the town centre, out of all character and proportion with the surrounding environment and which is nothing like what was initially proposed some years ago.
A great deal of concern was expressed when plans to “save” the Town Hall were first suggested, and the rehearsal rooms at the rear were demolished to make way for an “extension”. Townsfolk were encouraged to become Friends of the Town Hall, a fundraising mug went on sale and we were assured that the Victorian gem at the heart of the community was assured.
That role has now, apparently, been usurped by a towering carbuncle that dwarfs the Town Hall and, literally, puts it in the shade.
“A major scheme to transform former council offcies into the beating heart of creativity in Hebden Bridge is almost ready to be unveiled,” gusged the announcement in last week’s Hebden Bridge Times of the official opening this weekend (Saturday, June 24).
As well as office space for “small and creative” businesses - not exactl;y a priority, some might argue - we are promised a Waterfront Hall (200-seat venue for weddings and civil ceremonies) and space for community groups.
It’s reported that “a catering franchise will offer locally sourced food from day-time snacks to larger events” - is this a roundabout way of saying “cafe”, which is the last thing Hebden Bridge needs and may well have a detrimental effect on local buisnesses?
The so-called “town hall project” has turned out to be a massive misnomer for a scheme that’s appalled many people I have spoken to, without exception horrified by what has finally been unveiled.
Hebden Bridge may be the “quirky” town. Thanks to this monstrosity we can now add “quackers!”
Issy Shannon, Melbourne Street, Hebden Bridge.