Invest in Brighouse and see a £3m boost to tourism in Calderdale.
That is the message from Brighouse Business Initiative, which has worked tirelessly to champion the town as an attractive place to live, work and visit.
The group now has plans to further build on that success and transform Brighouse into a ‘tourist hub’, putting the town firmly on the tourist map as a ‘must visit’ destination in Yorkshire.
With hit events including the Victorian Christmas Festival, the hugely popular 1940s weekend and even more festivals in the pipeline, the future looks bright.
And now leading hotel chain Travelodge has announced plans to build a hotel in Brighouse as part of its £80m drive to boost its Yorkshire portfolio.
The group will share its success story at a tourism conference today, outlining its plans to keep the momentum going for years to come.
Steven Lord, of the Brighouse Business Initiative, said: “As a group, we thought what can we do to make Brighouse a thriving town centre.
“We started off with a Jubilee street party and then the Olympic torch came through the town and people were so amazed by what what we had done they were asking what we were going to do next.
“We started the 40s weekend, which has grown to one of the biggest in the country, then we had the Victorian Christmas Festival, the Canal and Music Festival, the Comedy Festival is coming up. All the events are run by volunteers and we just thought it was about time to tell people about it.
“We do get get a small amount of money from the council, but we want to raise the profile in Calderdale and with the council.
“At meetings it has become apparent that they don’t know what we are doing. we raise up to £3m for the local economy. If we can attract people to have a weekend here with one of the events, people can stay here for one day and the next day go somewhere else. It’s a very attractive package for holiday companies. The whole point is to keep Brighouse on the map and we have to give people a reason to come to the town. We’re going to be selling Brighouse as a gateway to West Yorkshire, as a tourist hub, we are connected to the motorways and one-and-a-half million people live within 15 miles Hotels are very keen as rooms get booked out, we just need some investment and we can really motor on.”
He added that if anybody would like to get involved, to get in touch.
Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker, said: “The specialist markets and events that Brighouse hosts, such as the annual 1940s weekend, are fantastic and attract thousands of visitors from across the UK, most of whom return year on year when they have seen what Brighouse has to offer.
“The Brighouse Business Initiative do an absolutely tremendous job in promoting everything that Brighouse has to offer and the town continues to go from strength to strength. I was delighted to nominate Brighouse as part of the recent national ‘High Street Awards’ scheme and I will continue to work closely with all local traders and businesses to promote Brighouse as a great
place to visit.”
Councillor Tim Swift (Lab, Town), leader of Calderdale Council, added: “We have been amazed by what has been done in Brighouse by the group have businesses that have joined together.
“I’m sorry there’s a sense that there’s not enough help, but I feel we offer practical help and the challenge for the council is getting the right balance between supporting events and getting in the way.
“We hope to have a paper going to cabinet about how we work with businesses in each town and moving forward that will be a priority.”
Coun Swift added that the model used in Brighouse could be adapted to suit other towns across the borough.