Board schemes to develop towns to be discussed by councillors

Commercial Street, Brighouse.
Commercial Street, Brighouse.

Towns across Calderdale could soon benefit from a development boost, as Calderdale Council’s Cabinet discuss proposals to introduce Town Boards across the borough.

At the meeting of Cabinet on Monday November 16, members will discuss plans to introduce Town Boards in the main Calderdale market towns of Halifax, Brighouse, Elland, Sowerby Bridge and Hebden Bridge.

Calderdale has always had an ambition to improve its town centres and although success has been achieved in many respects, it’s been recognised that sometimes there has not always been a consistent approach used, involving all key parties.

Since 2013, a pilot project in Todmorden has seen the establishment of the Todmorden Development Board. Since its creation, it has made some real progress in focusing activity to support improvements within the town centre, and particularly within Todmorden Town Hall.

Following the success of this project, it’s now proposed that the model is rolled out across the borough’s principal town centres, starting with Elland, Halifax and Sowerby Bridge.

As in Todmorden, each Town Board would comprise of local ward councillors, town councillors, local businesses and community groups, and would be able to lead on development in their area. They could also coordinate the planning of events and marketing campaigns in town centres, and the improvement and management of local markets.

Funding is available for all the groups and will be allocated in stages as each Town Board is established. Each Board will be able to develop and submit their proposals for use of this funding.

Local groups have already been involved in innovative projects in towns around Calderdale, which have helped them to create their own identity. The intention is to build on what these groups have achieved, carrying regeneration plans forward and complementing work that has already been done.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, Councillor Barry Collins, said: “Our market towns are so important to our local economy, and by introducing Town Boards in some of the main towns in the borough, we can ensure that we have a strong local voice to drive forward development.

“We know that each town is different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to regeneration, but the Boards would have freedom to propose their own ideas and priorities, to utilise the available funding.”

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Coun Steve Sweeney, added: “The existing Todmorden Development Board has made some great progress since it was set up in 2013. We are committed to revitalising our town centres and by working with local communities, who are focussed specifically on one area, we can ensure that funding is directed where it’s needed.”