Future of village group in balance

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The future of a village community group is in doubt - and the more than 600 households affected by it are invited to a public meeting arranged to decide whether it can continue or not.

Heptonstall Forward has been active in helping shape plans for the village’s future, but with its members looking to step down after next year’s annual meeting a decision over its future needs to be taken.

A meeting has been arranged on Sunday, November 22, at Heptonstall Bowling Club (2pm start) for residents to come along and express their views as to the future of their community group.

A spokesman for the group explained that Heptonstall, like other communities in the upper Calder Valley, has a Parish Council.

But in addition to the council, some have also been represented by a community group and this is the case in Heptonstall when, in 2002, a group of residents formed Heptonstall Forward and, with its capacity to access funding, they produced a Parish Plan in 2003.

Seven years later Heptonstall Forward consulted residents again on their views and as a result a new community-led plan was published.

“Many residents came forward to support groups they were interested in, such as communications, flowers and lighting signage, traffic and parking and elderly and disabled.

“However the current community-led plan is now well established, and members of Heptonstall Forward feel that after the annual meeting in 2016, it is time for them to step down,” said the spokesperson.

Over the years, Heptonstall Forward has showcased business and group activities in a weekend event and facilitated the establishment of community groups, established and published a newsletter and supported the development of a website, planted thousands of bulbs, helped safeguard heritage buildings, organised village clean ups, worked with others to address congestion, parking and road safety issues, supported a car sharing scheme, set up and ran a youth club, supported refurbishment of children’s play area, explored a community room asset transfer, established an annual event for the village, represented community views on housing requirements and planning applications and attended and arranged emergency meetings if needed.

More than 660 households have been invited to come along and have a say, in particular with reference to three key questions: These are:

l Does Heptonstall still want a community group to give residents a voice?

l If so, what would be its purpose?

l And how would it be supported?