Town could have charm - but not on these first impressions, I’m afraid

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I came to your town, Todmorden, yesterday (Saturday) on business It must be getting on for 40 years since I was last in the area, certainly 30 since I left the North for the rurality of Shropshire, where I now live.

The view I had from the railway carriage was unlikely to make me want to continue to do business in Todmorden in the future and I’ll tell you why.

The approach by rail from Hebden bridge presented a view from the carriage window of dilapidation brought about by what appeared to arise from an abject lack of care.

One could clearly see a boarded up cinema type building which had, at one time, an impressive and pleasing frontage, but, nearer and even worse I looked down upon a mellow stone built building with a roof that had been ravaged by time, neglect and presumable thieves, as the lead work in the gutter valley was absent.

The person who I came to see said the building was formerly some kind of public building, originally used for purposes of health. Given the present condition of this crumbling ruin it is more likely to be a risk to health nowadays.

This local resident was clearly disillusioned by the lack of commitment by the local authorities to make the most of an otherwise charming town with a railway platform of which you can be proud, a sentiment that was echoed on the BBC by Michael Portillo on a recent railway journey.

Obviously Mr Portillo was mostly taken up with the station and all matters railway, but I am given to wonder how Bradshaw, the author of his guide, would comment on the town now.

It is really such a shame that those who aspire to lead your

communities are less than supportive of those who are so clearly putting in so much E for effort and trying to make something of your town when times nationally are so difficult something to consider in the elections of the future I think.

I do realise a criticism from an outsider wont sit comfortably on the shoulders of some, but if you want to attract new business and inward investment in Todmorden then you may well want to consider first impressions.

John Harrison

Shropshire