The Inside the Council column with Councillor Steve Sweeney

Councillor Steve Sweeney.
Councillor Steve Sweeney.

Happy new year to everyone.

I thought I would take this opportunity to look at the past year and some of the things that were achieved and those that are needing resolution in 2019.

New Block: Todmorden High School saw major changes.

New Block: Todmorden High School saw major changes.

Todmorden Market Hall roof was replaced as planned and, because further funding was made available from Calderdale, the Todmorden Development Board and the town council, a general revamp of the washing and toilet block used by the traders was made possible.

Thanks to the traders’ patience and support the market hall project went smoothly with only limited disruption.

This coming year we are starting discussions to look at improving the outdoor market as part proposals around Rose Street.

Todmorden High School had a busy year with the new block opening, replacing the leaky old ‘temporary’ buildings.

The roofs of the main building were also repaired and the site was fenced as part of the security and safeguarding requirements.

This was all achieved while a new head was being appointed and was only possible through the dedication of both staff and pupils.

The new Ferney Lee school buildings opened (after a slight hiccup delaying it to half term) at the end of the summer and the car parking and outdoor sports provision should soon be completed.

A lot of work has been carried out maintaining and improving Todmorden Town Hall over the past year but unfortunately the major bid to do the overall scheme was unsuccessful.

The development will, however, continue this year with work being carried out to improve the acoustics in the main hall, potentially increasing use and helping to secure the long term future of the building.

There has been a great deal of discussion around the Rose Street site with various combinations of development being examined including public space, retail outlets, building a straw bale hotel and housing.

A lot of these ideas were interesting but difficult to finance.

The two elements which appear in all of the different proposals are public space and parking for the market, hopefully this year will be the one that a final plan is agreed.

The former college buildings have created a lot of interest this year.

The proposal from Aldi, the owners of the adjacent site, to take down the buildings in order to build a larger supermarket and provide a new children’s centre and Youth Centre was challenged by a local group who proposed reopening it as a college focusing on alternative building, agriculture and as a centre for local business start-ups.

This group registered the building as a Community Asset which stopped any other development until the submission of a viable business plan which should be submitted early in the year and hopefully the future of the will become clear.