Work to sort out park drains set to start - and next year’s big events will be going ahead

The work aims to sort out draianage probloems which have affected Centre Vale Park. Peter Wood took this photograph of the state of the park through last autumn and winter

The work aims to sort out draianage probloems which have affected Centre Vale Park. Peter Wood took this photograph of the state of the park through last autumn and winter

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Major work to sort out drainage problems which have dogged Todmorden’s park begin this month - but next year’s big summer events will be able to go-ahead despite more work still being needed in 2014.

Calderdale Council and the Environment Agency met major users of Centre Vale Park this week to outline work which has been done over the summer, more which is to be undertaken over five weeks from this month and signalled tasks which will need to be completed next year.

However the decision about when this will happen will be made by representatives of Todmorden Carnival and Todmorden Agricultural Show, ensuring both organisations can plan for 2014 events which are among the highlights of Todmorden’s summer.

Calderdale Council’s head of neighbourhoods, Mr Andrew Pitts, said that this week Calderdale Council, the Environment Agency and representatives from Todmorden Carnival, Todmorden Agricultural Society and the Friends of Centre Vale Park met to discuss the works needed to tackle the drainage issues at Centre Vale Park.

“Updates were given about works that have already been done.

“Jetting work was carried out in July to clean out the drainage pipes, and over 200 tonnes of sandy loam - a kind of soil - have been spread across the park in the past couple of weeks to level the surface to prepare it for further work.

“We informed the group that funding has been successfully allocated from the Environment Agency and Calderdale Council to carry out further programmed works.

“The first stage is due to take place in September and we expect it to take approximately five weeks. The decision about when the remaining work will take place will be made by representatives of the Carnival and the Agricultural Show, who have confirmed that both events will be going ahead in the park next year,” he said.

Consultation with user groups would be ongoing, he said.

“By working with the Environment Agency and keeping local organisations involved, we now hope we’re in a position to start making improvements to the drainage in the park. We know how important the park is to Todmorden, both as a focal point for community events and for wider recreational activity, and we are committed to making sure the park is one that local people can be proud of,” said Mr Pitts.

Almost a year ago, Todmorden Agricultural Society members raised concerns about the state of the park when it became apparent water was not draining away and large parts of it were effectively unusable following months of heavy rain. They took the decision to cancel the 2013 show as there was no guarantee the park’s state would improve if a wet winter and spring ensued, yet more money would have had to have been committed the longer preparations went on.

Society president Mrs Shirley Fielder said: “They’re going to do a third of the field now, then it has time to recover before the Carnival and the Show. When we’ve finished the Show, they will move on to the other two phases.

“It’s a mammoth task, but the show is going ahead.”