Todmorden Gets Final Green Light for £17.5M Town Investment Plan Projects

​Todmorden Town Deal Board is delighted to announce that the town has been allocated £17.5M to deliver the Town Investment Plan put forward to The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) for Todmorden.

The news comes after months of hard work to revise the plan to meet the funding available and to satisfy the need for a coherent, strategic project portfolio that can realise the Board’s vision for the town as:

“a thriving, resilient market town which capitalises on its unique landscape, its environment, and its renowned community activism and enterprising spirit. Todmorden will have a strong visitor economy and be a beacon for social and environmental enterprise, creative industries and healthy living.’”

The investment will support the delivery of a range of interconnected projects submitted to the Board at the start of the process.

These projects have been further developed and refined to meet the objectives set out by the Board including, redeveloping an attractive, vibrant town centre, improving access for walkers, cyclists and people with limited mobility, to make the most of our cultural and heritage assets and to provide high-quality opportunities in education and learning for all.

The mix of projects aims to maximise the town’s arts and music offer and develop a thriving visitor economy as a gateway for the Calder Valley, making the most of the town’s key location between Leeds and Manchester.

Cutting across every aspect of what will be delivered is a robust ambition for sustainable principles to be built in and to contribute towards net zero carbon as far as is possible.

Pam Warhurst chair of the Town Deal Board said…

“I’m delighted to confirm that the official £17.5m Grant Offer letter for the Todmorden Town Deal has been received from the DLUHC.

“The full funding won’t be released until the business cases have been developed, but this is a great way to start off 2022.

“It’s a key milestone for the Town Deal and an important step in building a foundation to deliver opportunities for all”.

Craig Whittaker MP for Calder Valley and Town Deal Board member said…

“I am incredibly thrilled that the Todmorden Town Board have progressed the secured £17.5 million to the next level for the community and people of Todmorden. This is the biggest investment in the Town of Todmorden in a generation.

“I know that this money will go a long way towards levelling-up the whole of Todmorden, and I am proud to work with the other members of the Town Board to ensure that this money is spent on various exciting projects across the community to the great benefit of all local residents.”

The redevelopment of the heart of the town centre will be anchored with a state of the art bespoke and contemporary enterprise centre alongside an accessible flexible plaza area that can be used for events.

Other projects include investment in Todmorden Town Hall to be more accessible and fit for community use, following recent refurbishments already undertaken, and improvements to the popular Centre Vale Park and Fielden Hall, including bringing the bandstand back into use for arts and music performance.

Highlights also feature improvements to the town centre experience through Active Todmorden, by connecting up and improving routes to explore and access what’s on offer in the town.

Cllr Silvia Dacre, Todmorden Town Deal Board and Calderdale Council said…

“I believe the Active Travel proposals will be transformative both for residents of Todmorden and visitors to our town.

“The work will make the centre of Todmorden easier to negotiate, particularly for those with mobility issues and buggies. “

We also want to enable all of us to access our countryside along Rochdale Canal by improving the towpath.”

Key to the plan is improving skills, education and employment opportunities for residents. Central to this is an investment into the community-owned Todmorden Learning Centre and Community Hub to support its redevelopment as a high-quality resource for learning and training.

Julie Thorpe, Centre Manager, Todmorden Learning Centre and Community Hub said…

“This funding means we can secure the future of the building, make it a beacon for sustainable, low-carbon refurbishment, and provide well-equipped, modern learning and leisure facilities.

“We will be able to provide great facilities for the groups that meet here including sports clubs, art classes, cultural groups. the wonderful ‘Makery’ repair café, the Food Drop-in, Incredible Edible, the Prince’s Trust, and our own ‘Climate Challenge College’.

“We are really looking forward to working closely with the other funded projects to make a real difference to the town.”

Maximising the town’s green spaces for health, leisure and to support the provision of employment opportunities is key to achieving the vision of a healthier, more sustainable town.

The Riverside Centre project in Walsden will realise a vision created over 45 years ago by the conservation group, for a multi-activity and sports centre, making use of a site set in a beautiful natural environment, attracting residents and visitors alike.

The site will develop existing amenities to create accessible and inclusive changing, hospitality, social and accommodation facilities to support activities on offer.

Activities include green spaces for community activities such as shows and sports events, a forest school for local schools and mental health and well-being groups, a canal-side base for water sports, a scouting and Duke of Edinburgh awards centre, and an all-ability cycling and training centre.

Peter Hirst, Community Development Director for Upper Calder Valley Renaissance (UCVR), who own the site said…

“It’s fantastic news that we have been successful in our individual bid. Along with the ‘all ability’ cycling charity Empowered People, who will be tenanting on the site, we have around £1m investment potential already. We are absolutely delighted that all this hard work has paid off.

Riverside will be able to offer many more facilities and activities to the whole community instead of the limited user activities we inherited. This means that as an activity and learning centre it can become self-sufficient providing accommodation for training, and educational courses and recreational visitors, and that means jobs too.”

Supporting the arts and cultural sectors in Todmorden is vital to the town’s success. Projects include the provision of a shared resource base for arts practice, workshops and training through Murmuration Workshops, and further investment towards the outstanding community-owned Hippodrome Theatre.

The theatre project builds on Accelerator funding through the Town Deal Board, which has already seen the outside of the theatre transformed and made more accessible.

The funding now available through the confirmed Town Investment Plan will see improvements to internal spaces in the theatre, enabling better access, a higher quality creative environment and inclusivity.

Steve Clarkson, Buildings Manager, The Hippodrome Theatre said…

“This is an incredible opportunity to secure the future of the Hippodrome, one of the UK’s largest community-run theatres, and a strong cultural and economic asset for the town. The creation of new spaces will allow us to broaden the range of events we can offer and expand our Youth Theatre provision.

“We will create multi-purpose, fully accessible spaces to be used by Todmorden Amateur and Operatic Society (TAODS) and the wider community that will strongly enhance Todmorden’s reputation for artistic and cultural creativity. In 2019 The Hippodrome attracted 16000 visitors and this project will see an increase in the number of people visiting the town bringing with them wider additional economic benefits.”

Following confirmation of the £17.5M investment, each project now has to develop full business cases fleshing out details of exactly how the money will be spent and the specific benefits and impacts for the town, residents and visitors that will be achieved, and, most importantly, how further funding and match monies may be drawn into the town, to ensure sustainability and growth now and in the future.

Board member Stephen Curry said…

“Two years ago some said this was not real money and a political ruse and that we would not see any funds.

“Some of us believed enough to chase this prize for the town and that belief has now paid off ‘big time’.

“But there is still a massive amount of work to do working up the business plans and ensuring this funding is used to pull in additional investment for the next generation.”

Projects within the Town Investment Plan have until August 5th to produce full business cases to ensure the money is allocated to them to deliver their projects.

So, a really busy and critical time now lies ahead…