Responses are considered, and professional expertise to call on

THE pragmatic approach Todmorden Civic Society adopts to issues was demonstrated in its response to the Netto plan last year.

Chairman Paul Clarke explained that applications are considered on their merits. “We are not against regeneration or indeed against supermarkets, but the design they have chosen can only be described as ‘pastiche’ and does little to preserve or enhance the conservation area,” he said.

Having two professional conservationists on the society’s board ensures that the significance of the town’s heritage is taken into account, particularly important on issues such as repair of the Grade I listed town hall.

The society is represented on the Town Hall development group and is pressing for substantial, durable restoration work to the Grade I listed building, rather than piecemeal repairs as in the past.

In October the society was boosted when Mr Clarke was elected onto the board of trustees for Civic Voice, a national organisation that supports civic societies throughout the country.

Locally, the society has been advising the Environment Agency on the impact of flood alleviation work on the conservation area and its heritage assets and secured a commitment from them to reconstruct the overhanging shops on Water Street after they have carried out essential culvert works later in the year.

Perhaps the society’s proudest moment came last September with the launch of a plan to replace the Gilbert Bayes statues in the Garden of Remembrance, which are part of the war memorial. The project will cost around £15,000 and is expected to be completed in August 2014 - the 100-year anniversary of the first world war.

In less than four months the fund stands at just over £4,600, with donations from individuals and local businesses coming in all the time and their familiar green collection boxes can be found in shops and pubs throughout the town from Portsmouth to Walsden.

As the weather improves, milestone refurbishments will resume in partnership with Calderdale Council, the Milestone Society and contractors Amey. Anyone interested in joining the society can call secretary Anne Cryer on 01706 813550, or email secretary@todmordencivicsociety.org.uk