Canal work ‘sets mark for future regeneration’

Opening of the Rochdale Canal improvements at Todmorden, August 2011. Picture: Estelle Brown
Opening of the Rochdale Canal improvements at Todmorden, August 2011. Picture: Estelle Brown

GROUPS hope that two newly unveiled canal gateway sites will set the benchmark for future regeneration work in Todmorden.

The resurfaced stretch of Rochdale Canal towpath and new gateway sites at the Lever Street and Oxford Street car parks in the town centre – a project carried out in partnership between Todmorden Pride, Todmorden Town Council and Calderdale Council – were officially opened in a ceremony attended by more than 300 people.

David Storah, from Todmorden Pride, said: “Everybody was very happy with the result.

“We are hoping it provides an impetus for other improvements within the town. If this can be done to a high standard, which it has been, there’s no reason why other works can’t be done to the same standard.”

Mr Storah thanked the Waterways Trust, the Community Spaces scheme, Sita and everyone else involved in the project, which he hopes will attract people using the canal to come into the town centre and boost the local economy.

“It’s a good start and we hope it will continue,” he said.

Mr Storah said there are plans to improve the towpath all the way to Kilnhurst to tie in with the canal and Incredible Edible Todmorden’s green route. “It would be a great thing for everybody,” he said.

The opening event featured activities with Incredible Edible Todmorden and Todmorden in Bloom, an exhibition of work by Todmorden Art Group and live music from two bands.

Anne Holdsworth, Calderdale Council environmental projects officer, said: “It’s been a really nice scheme to work on. It’s really rewarding when working in partnership with local community groups.

“We cannot thank Todmorden Pride and Todmorden Town Council enough for their contribution to the project. Without these partners it would not have been anything like the success it has been.”

Coun Anne James, chairwoman of Todmorden Town Council’s development committee, said the resurfaced towpath and gateway sites already seem to be proving popular.

“It was really nice to see people coming and using the facilities,” she said. “Hopefully we can build on that and take it a bit further.

“If we can continue down the canal and eventually get to the marina I think it will attract many more people into the town centre.”