Todmorden Town Deal Board is delighted to announce that three out of the eight Full Business Cases for projects in Todmorden’s £17.5M Town Investment Plan have now been submitted to Government for final approval for funding.

The projects include improvements to the much loved Todmorden Town Hall, investment into a range of sports, heritage, arts and leisure facilities at Centre Vale Park, and the redevelopment and refurbishment of the Todmorden Learning Centre and Community Hub, supporting its aim to provide skills, training and learning opportunities for local people, with a particular focus on the green economy.

If successful, the three projects will reflect an overall investment win for the town of over £4.5M, a major step forward in realising the Board’s vision for Todmorden as a beacon 21st-century market town.

The three Full Business Case submissions to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities follow months of development by Project Leads exploring a range of options and providing detailed costings for each project. In Autumn 2022 there will be opportunities for local people to view and comment on the proposals.

Pam Warhurst, Chair, Todmorden Town Deal Board said:

“The submission of full business cases for these three wonderful projects is great news, and a key milestone in our ambitions to deliver a Town Investment Plan that realises Todmorden’s immense potential as a revitalised and economically successful market town.

“Between them, they strive for excellence, offering huge benefits and long-term positive impact for residents, businesses and communities across learning and skills, arts and heritage, sports and health and wellbeing. I congratulate each of the Project Leads on getting to this crucial stage of the process.”

Calderdale Council is the Accountable Body for the community-led Board and for the Todmorden Town Investment Programme as a whole.

Cllr Sarah Courtney, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Towns, Engagement and Public Health, said:

“The submission of the first set of business cases for the Todmorden Town Deal is a really special moment for the future of the town and is a testament to the hard work, dedication and inspiring proposals of all involved. Todmorden’s transformation offers much to be excited about and there will be opportunities to view and comment on the proposals over the coming months. 

“Todmorden is a much-loved, distinctive town with talented, kind and resilient residents and businesses. The Town Deal aims to build on these qualities and create an even stronger place for the whole community, which perfectly complements our Council priority for thriving towns across Calderdale.”

The Todmorden Town Hall project, for which Calderdale Council is Project Lead, will build on recent improvements, including the refurbishment of the external railings and acoustic improvements in the stunning Main Hall, to unlock the immense potential of this popular 1875-built, Grade I listed building as a user friendly, accessible and attractive heritage space.

Key works will include the remodelling of internal spaces to realise the Hall’s use as an information and heritage centre, and as an event and workspace are able to accommodate a range of activities, including offices, performances, conferences and functions. External improvements to the paving surrounding the Hall will maximise its setting as a striking landmark for the town centre.

Central to the transformation is the opening up of the Grand Entrance directly into the highly impressive Victorian lobby and staircase, and improvements to realise a longstanding local ambition for a fully accessible venue.

The investment in Todmorden Town Hall complements further projects in the Town Investment Plan to transform the town centre into an attractive, flexible space that offers improved facilities, spaces and services that people want to use and spend time in, boosting the local economy and bringing additional visitors to explore the local area.

Providing high-quality, relevant and accessible opportunities for learning, skills and enterprise development is a key theme of the vision set out in Todmorden’s Town Investment Plan. The community-led Todmorden Learning Centre and Community Hub (TLCCH) project is a major investment contributing to this aim.

The TLCCH is the former Todmorden College, run since 2021 as a community-based charitable organisation. Its ambition is to provide local people with training and skills for jobs in the green economy, such as agroecology, food production and processing, natural building and renewable energy systems operations. The business case sets out how the Hub will maximise its growing reputation as a Climate Challenge College by offering a mix of enterprise, training and community-based activities to support personal and professional development and wellbeing.

The Town Deal investment will be targeted towards building improvements, providing high-quality, affordable and accessible teaching, research, enterprise and workshop accommodation in the heart of Todmorden, as well as supporting the purchase of shared specialist resources for local artists, businesses and communities.

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

We are pleased that our Business Case has now been submitted to government. It has been a long but important process through which we have refined our plans and begun to explore in more detail how we will deliver them. We plan to spend much of our funding to improve the energy efficiency of the building so that it is more sustainable to run and we can continue to keep costs to users low even with the current rises in fuel prices. We are also planning some improvements to the facilities including refurbishment of the cookery space and workshops. The prospect of being able to start the real work in a few months’ time is very exciting!”

The Centre Vale Park project combines a fantastic mix of developments to existing facilities, with the aim of enabling more people, including disabled people, to participate in sports and leisure activities.

Three existing tennis courts will be refurbished, with a brand new court installed, offering the potential to develop a Centre of Excellence involving players of all ages.

The historic Bowling Pavilion will be restored and expanded, supporting the ambition for the Todmorden Bowl Association to also become a Centre of Excellence, maximising its unique position as a club with four crown greens to attract regional and national competition.

Alongside these developments, a Multi-Use Games Area will provide a brand new facility for 5 a-side football and basketball, particularly meeting the needs of the town’s young people.

The project also aims to restore the park’s neglected heritage and public sites, including the Edwardian Grade II Listed Bandstand, with the aim of bringing it back to use for local music and arts outdoor performances.

The Conservatory in the Garden of Remembrance will be refurbished to create a mixed-use meeting and workshop space, a focus for Veterans to meet and interact, and hosting exhibitions, activity days and educational visits.

In addition, Fielden Hall, currently offering function and meeting spaces, will benefit from energy efficiency measures, designed to reduce emissions and energy usage to support its future use and sustainability and to provide some new affordable accommodation.

Project Lead, Todmorden Town Council, is working closely with Todmorden Tennis Club, Todmorden Bowls Association, and members of the local community who are committed to restoring the bandstand. The Council is also working with Calderdale Valley Community Land Trust who owns and leads on Fielden Hall.

The project builds on previous Town Deal Accelerator Funding into Centre Vale Park which created the extremely well-used Wheels Park, and the ongoing refurbishment of its seating shelters.

Cllr Denis Skelton, co-leader of Todmorden Town Council and Chair of Resources Committee said:

“Whilst we still have challenges to overcome to deliver all of the proposed projects, working with each of the Centre Vale Park Project groups on the Business Case has reinforced just how this investment will help them all take forward their own ambitions and deliver for Centre Vale Park not only new facilities but also improve what is already on offer.

“The Town Council in agreeing to act as Sponsor for all of the Centre Vale projects including where appropriate, assume future land ownership, is pleased to be working with our partners to provide economic, cultural and health benefits for Todmorden residents to enjoy through increased musical events by bringing the Bandstand back into use, all year round use for youngsters of a Multi-Use Games Area, better facilities for tennis players, improved social space for bowlers and Veterans to use, and as part of our climate focus also helping Fielden Hall to become more energy efficient.”

Simon Brearley, Chair, Calder Valley Community Land Trust said:

“The impact of the funding secured by the Town Deal Board will give the ability for the Fielden Hall and the residential properties on-site to have greater energy efficiency. This will help to ensure a sustainable future for the property which is a hugely important community asset for the people of Todmorden.”

Pam Warhurst, Chair, Todmorden Town Deal Board, added:

“The Board has now approved the remaining five projects and anticipates these will be submitted to Government in early September to join the three already under consideration. There is no set date for us to hear outcomes and get feedback, but we are hopeful this will be by the end of the year. In the meantime, we are looking to plan some local activities to share more details about the plans and proposals during the Autumn.”