We attended an open meeting of the Hebden Bridge Partnership at the Town Hall, simply as inquisitive local residents.
We were impressed by the range and depth of the matters under consideration and development. The Partnership has been around for over a decade but what it is and what it does is probably not widely understood. The overall aim of the Partnership seems to be to safeguard and enhance the economic and social life of the area through voluntary action and involvement, and by co-ordinating responses to the various threats and opportunities that present themselves (see website www.hbpartnership.org.uk). Of course, one person’s “threat” can be an opportunity in someone else’s eyes, and vice-versa, but the Partnership appears to do its best to maintain a sensible and balanced view.
One of the combined task-groups reporting to the Partnership is looking at traffic and pedestrian issues within the town. In the course of the discussion we became aware of what seems to us a major threat to the continuing well-being of our community. Alongside the eventual loss of temporary public car-parking on the Valley Road development site there is also a plan afoot to make the A646 a “red route” (i.e. prohibiting long-term roadside parking). While the latter is clearly desirable from a traffic-flow and road-safety point of view, if no large alternative parking provision is created, the end result could be to drive away not only visitors and shoppers, but also daily rail-commuters who live locally and whose families bring vitality to our schools, services and shops.
We are aware that there is no simple or cheap solution to this challenge but it is one which needs to be urgently addressed.
Brenda and Jim Botten