(Statement from Todmorden Ward Forum on Limited Opportunity for Questions, below)
Todmorden Town Deal Board’s Chair, Pam Warhurst, was invited to give an update on the current position and progress at the recent Todmorden Ward Forum meeting on 16th May at Todmorden Town Hall.
A summary of key points on the Town Deal item are below:
The process started in 2019 when Todmorden was invited to apply for Town Deal funding from the then Towns Fund. The funding is for hard infrastructure only, it cannot be used to employ people or for communications.
The pandemic and timelines restricted the capacity for consultation. That is recognised by the Board, and consequently there is an understanding that some people have sometimes felt surprised and taken aback by what has been presented.
We don’t expect to get everyone on board, but we are committed to transparency. If we don’t know something yet, we will say that.
The Board: Recruiting in June!
The Board is made up of local people who work extremely hard. The roles are unpaid. It’s a challenging role and demands a lot of time and specific skills.
In June we are recruiting new Board members. If you want to help and have the passion and the skills that can help, we strongly encourage you to get in touch for a chat with the Chair.
Todmorden was awarded £17.5M. This is one of the biggest per capita of funding of the 100 Town Deal investments in the country.
We have eight projects (5 community partners, 3 Calderdale Council) all of which comply with government guidelines and restrictions.
We have very limited resources for comms, we are looking to improve how we communicate.
Investing very large sums of money into local community organisations in a way that enables them to deliver in the way they can and want to, and in a way Government is happy for them to do, is challenging.
The last few months have been spent developing appropriate shared agreements. That has been the core activity since February when we got the final funding approvals across the whole programme.
It’s really important to understand that not all projects will move forward at the same time.
The Hippodrome Theatre
The Hippodrome have their latest drawings and plans and are undertaking consultation now.
Over 100 people attended their Open Day last weekend and commented on their plans and discussed feedback with the architect.
Centre Vale Park
This is a very complex project made up of lots of other projects.
The Town Council has done huge amounts of work on this. It’s likely this will result in more of a partnership approach with Todmorden Council leading, with support from Calderdale Council in various ways.
The park-based community groups involved are playing a vital role and will continue to do so.
Public Places in Todmorden
We have a huge and controversial project in the town centre. There has been a lot of confusion about this. We acknowledge that we set hares running by sharing drawings too early stage and not fully thought through. To dispel some of the confusion: the drawings we showed at the Open Day are no longer relevant. Redesigns are planned.
The market is the lifeblood of a market town. There is no intention to get rid of or damage the markets. There is not going to be a pop-up market that blows away! We need to make the town centre attractive to encourage more people to visit and use the markets and our other businesses. Uncertainty is not great, but we have to work through it and talk to people.
We do not want to reduce parking but in a climate crisis, we are not specifically going to champion more cars and more pollution. We want to improve air quality and the attractiveness of the centre. But we recognise we need to find a balance between this and car use and car parking. A review of car parking needs is being planned.
New plans/drawings: we hope to have these to show you in the Autumn. As soon as we have plans and drawings they will be shared with the public.
The Enterprise Centre
This will provide space for businesses that are not food or shops.
We need new industries and businesses that will create better-paid jobs and help us retain our young people.
Conversations will improve on this now they are getting started.
Events like the Agricultural Show will be held there this June showcasing its wider community use, as well as for sports. Junior football is active there already.
Tod College, Learning and Community Hub
Progress is underway for delivery.
This was an update only at Todmorden Ward Forum, and not intended to be a full discussion or consultation. In addition, due to time constraints, very few questions could be taken.
(This is explained further in a statement from Todmorden Ward Forum just below).
A few questions that could be accommodated…
Q. How are you engaging young people?
A. We have a youth panel, and our Board representative for youth, Amna, is having conversations with the school about how they can get more involved.
Q. Can we have one more Town Deal meeting?
A. Yes, definitely.
Q. Can we have more publicity up on ‘the tops’?
A. Noted. The plan proposed is to extend communications subject to resources.
Public Comment: The highways consultation relating to the previous item was at the Town Hall on a Friday morning. Can we have consultations when more people can attend and in places that are more visible, like a market stall on a Saturday morning.
Concluding Comments from Chair
The Chair is happy to talk to anyone, update and hear their views.
The market stall is a great idea. We plan to have a presentation and further update in Autumn time at the Hippodrome.
In Lever Street, a group of people disagreed with the idea of a hotel by the canal side which was one of the original proposals. They set up a group and made a case, and there is now not a hotel planned there. They have now produced some proposals they would like to see for that area which we are talking to them about. So this can be done.
We can’t change the outputs but you can talk to me about your ideas for delivering the project.
Limited Opportunity for Questions/Discussion on Town Deal Item
Statement from Todmorden Ward Forum, 18th May 2023
It is not the role of the Councillors’ Ward Forum to organise an open public meeting to consult on the Town Deal projects – this is for the Town Deal Board and/or the individual project sponsors.
However, the Ward Forums are there to address issues impacting the community in Todmorden, and it is now over a year since the Town Deal featured on the agenda. It seemed right therefore that given the impact on the town, we included an item to update and highlight the variety of projects involved. Given the time constraints, especially following on from the other item of great community concern earlier in the agenda, Cllr Tremayne made it clear when introducing Pam that this was an update only, and a chance to outline further opportunities for feedback and consultation.
There are clearly concerns centred on a minority of the projects which people are keen to raise, and this could have occupied the entire two-hour meeting and deserves more time than we could give to it, especially as we had two further agenda items to discuss and very limited time in which to do this. Hence the decision not to have a full discussion, although in the end a few questions were asked.
Pam stated that some projects such as the Hippodrome have already begun consultations, and the others that are not quite at that stage yet would have opportunities further down the line. She also agreed to organise at least one further open public meeting in response to a question.
Note: Minutes of the full Todmorden Ward Forum meeting will be available on https://calderdale.moderngov.co.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CId=213&Year=0
You can sign up for notice of future Todmorden Ward Forum meetings here: