A Trail To unite us

LOTTERY funding will be sought to draw together a “Green Trail” through Todmorden town centre aimed at attracting tourists and, crucially, boosting business.

Currently under the umbrella name Incredible Todmorden, it aims to draw together voluntary and business groups working for the town and whose efforts can help market Todmorden as a whole.

Pam Warhurst, of Incredible Edible Todmorden, said that though the trail will include plenty of edible treats, the dropping of the name “edible” for this project was deliberate, aimed at including all while making full use of the “Incredible” tag.

It is hoped a bid for, in the first instance, People Millions lottery funding can be readied by the late spring or early summer, said Pam.

A trail would incorporate the whole town centre, connecting all the town centre’s major buildings and leisure areas, ranging from Todmorden Market to Fielden Wharf.

“We know we already have ‘vegetable tourists’ through IET - every summer we take groups from all over the country and from Europe around the sites we have already, wanting to understand why and how we do what we do.

“We will attract many more with our incredible green route. The whole thing came from thinking ‘how can we use a community group to help Todmorden’s economy. It’s important for jobs and to attract more tourists,” she said.

Having linked up with other groups including market traders, Todmorden Town Council’s amenities committee, Todmorden Pride, Todmorden Renaissance Board, Todmorden In Bloom and the leader of Calderdale Council, a good response from a public consultation at Todmorden Library means the idea can be taken forward, said Pam.

“We have had a fabulous response to the display at the library and this week, for example, the national director of Garden Organic was very positive about it and wants to help us make it a reality.

“It’s early days but a lot of people in the town are up for this - we would like to give people some indication of what the route will be and how it will appear,” said Pam.

How it would be branded was yet to be decided but there were some ideas already being developed elsewhere in Calderdale. At Calderdale Royal Hospital, for example, there were arrows on the pavement pointing people directly to Halifax Market. “They are discreet but you can see the benefits,” she said.

Last year, IET asked a dozen of its expert supporters from all over the country, including planners, architects, developers, writers and artists to give a weekend of their time for free to help them brainstorm what might be done.

Their brief was the challenge what was possible rather than what was nice but unrealistic. One proposition was an asset transfer of the market hall to community ownership, which has still to be developed, and the other was the trail.

The trail must be informative and functional as well as inspirational and is something the whole community can work towards, says Pam, who will be arranging a public meeting to plan the next steps.

l WHAT features do you think could enhance a Green Trail in Todmorden Town Centre? You can email your thoughts to todnews@todmordennews.co.uk