Holmfirth Community Action Update
Back in March we reported on a proposal by Kirklees Council for a one-way traffic scheme in Holmfirth which would have had a hugely negative impact on the vitality, viability and creativity of the town. Holme Valley Vision, a network of local groups, called on local people to let the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (which manages transport funding) know what they thought of Kirklees Council’s ill-conceived scheme during its public engagement exercise. The response from residents was amazing. Because of this, there is now a future for Holmfirth as a truly thriving small town. Around 2,500 people expressed their views during the consultation process. The West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Kirklees Council have never seen such an expression of interest in a scheme before – with nearly 80% of respondents voicing a disapproval of the proposals.
The response has demonstrated the importance of encouraging local people to have their say. The power of public opinion has led to some brilliant outcomes. Kirklees council has gone back to the drawing board and has come up with a revised proposal that takes into account the feedback from the consultation exercise. The council officers are also working very closely with local groups and the Parish Council. The approach is refreshing and is to be applauded. It shows that community action and the willingness of Local Authorities to listen to the residents can lead to some truly positive results.
You can find out more about the new proposals on the Kirklees Council website.
The focus of the new plan is on reducing congestion but there will be public realm improvements as well. The proposals include provision of electric charging points and improved provision for pedestrians and cyclists. There is one major concern that is not yet to be resolved – the future of the market. The proposal includes the demolition of the existing market hall, a building of limited historic interest, and replacing it with an enlarged car park. The intention is for this car parking facility to be a multi-functional open space, including an outdoor market. Holme Valley Vision are encouraged by this intention, although have concerns is that its use as a car park will dominate.
It is clear that with the continued involvement of the residents of Holmfirth in the developments of the town and the stronger relationship with the council that has developed through this process, the network can ensure that local voices are heard in any future decisions for the town. Rest assured, Holme Valley Vision will be keeping a close eye on the next stages of the plan and its implementation.
The next stage is for an outline business case to go before WYCAS. This is due to happen before the end of the year. You can find out more details on the Holme Valley Vision website.