Changing face of Hebden Bridge
Posted by Richard
How do I see HB? As a place where stereotypes are confounded, mainly, and long may that continue.
It is one of the unique characteristics of the area that we constantly find our expectations trashed - the Tory councillor who gives a hitch-hiker a lift; the trendy-lefty-greeny who opposes low-cost rented housing in their back yard; the off-cumden southern bank manager who supports workers' co-operatives; the 4X4 school-run mum who lives in a lesbian co-housing scheme; the canal-barge dweller trying to get other bargees evicted; etc, etc.
But this creates considerable tensions, because it is difficult to abandon stereotypical images and expectations.
For instance, I've noticed more and more people commuting INTO HB station in the mornings - I presume they're coming into HB to work in one of the shops or cleaning and service jobs, where wages are low. They work here, but cannot afford to live here. That is unsustainable. A priority for the town must be affordable housing.
Another instance:- when we see youths hanging around on street corners us older folk assume the worst, we expect them to be 'up to no good' - and that of course makes it more likely that the worse will happen as they sense our suspicion. Improving facilities for teenagers is another priority.
These are a wee bit more important than the colour of cobble-stones!!
From Jonathan Timbers
I agree with Richard - affordable housing, low pay and teenage disaffection are issues which should be better addressed in town. I also think that we should go beyond town boundaries and look at some of the issues which affect Halifax, Sowerby Bridge, Todmorden etc. as well. These include the pressures of the social services budget, low pay in care homes, providing better care for looked-after children, amongst others. As Richard points out, too often we are interested in the colour of cobblestones rather than social inclusion.
From Andrew Hall
Both Richard and Jonathan make good points. There are many social issues that are worthy of our attention and discussion. However, surely the 'serious' stuff and the slightly 'lighter' contributions are not mutually exclusive. They can quite easily co-exist on a site such as HebWeb.
From Anthony Rae
Whilst I have followed the debate about the traffic review on HebWeb I have chosen not to participate, principally because of the abusive nature of some of the communications - a characteristic shared with the correspondence in the Hebden Bridge Times. But I'll make an exception.
I was reflecting on a second letter sent by an Andrew Hall to the HBT, and whether it was worth the reply. Those of you who have followed the extended correspondence in the paper will know that, in his first letter (7th December) this Mr Hall made a series of ill-advised, probably libellous and quite inaccurate insinuations concerning the involvement of the Steering Group, and me by name, in the procurement exercise for the traffic review works. In my reply, I pointed out, accurately, that decisions about 'how tenders were let, who selected artists, and how the money has been spent' were in fact taken by Calderdale Council, not by the Steering Group. Because I am of a forgiving nature, I corresponded privately with the editor of the paper about the probable defamatory nature of the remarks and we left it there.
Now (HBT 4th January) the same Mr Hall twists my reply to imply that I was saying that the Steering Group 'had little or nothing to do with any of the decisions regarding the re-ordering of the square'. This is obviously a considerable misrepresentation of what I wrote, but then that Mr Hall is very good when it comes to misrepresenting the facts.
For some reason, I'm reminded of something an Andrew Hall posted on this site on 17th November. "Is it better to be totally honest and speak your mind or should you lie, just because your opinions might offend somebody? I firmly believe in the former, but in our anodyne and oh-so-sensitive world, I know I'm in the minority".
Quite the fearless champion of the moral perspective, but I do wish the Andrew Hall who believes in being 'totally honest' would have a word with the Andrew Hall who can't check his facts, but doesn't let that stand in the way of the opportunity to repeatedly smear somebody's reputation in public. Maybe the first Andrew Hall could instruct the second in how to conduct a public debate with both accuracy and civility.
From Andrew Hall
I'm sorry Mr Rae found my recent letter to the HBT offensive/provocative. It was not intended to be. I was trying to draw a line under the whole affair in the last paragraph - I obviously need to brush up on my communication skills. (Additionally, I rather wish the HBT were quicker off the mark - the last letter was sent to them nearly a month ago).
From Jonathan Timbers
Oh please, this started out as a thread about the changing face of Hebden Bridge. Let's not suffer yet more about the conspiracy of Blair and Bush to place yellow cobbles from China along Bridgegate, thus adding to global warming and bringing the end of the world ever closer! Obviously it would be better to have local stone! I propose opening up the old quarries at the back of the area where Andrew and I live. I'm sure we wouldn't mind 24 hour quarrying if it served the local good!
From Allan Kitching
I used to live in Hebden Bridge, and left the area in 1970. I still visit the area as I have relatives in the area. I have seen many changes in the area since I left.
The tourist label that Hebden Bridge now has, this has increased the amount of traffic year on year so now when I visit I bypass the centre as there in no parking in the town. This is a annoyance that the local people are unable to find a place to park either.
My biggest disappointment in the area is the Canal. I used to live in Oxford Street at Stubbing Holme, close to Canal and river. The canal is a mess with boats moored all the way along not a pretty sight as quite a lot are run down. When I lived there you could see the fish swimming in the canal now it's just a turned up muddy mess.
I think that Hebden has lost a lot of its charm in the pursuit of commerce; it's a shame as the area has quite a lot to offer if it's managed tastefully.
Just another comment, I have travelled all round the country and the world and eaten in many restaurants and pubs, Hebden is definitely lacking in good food establishments, and seem to just cater for the day tripper who will not be returning, so come on Hebden, let's improve and build on what you have.
From Andy M
Agree with you about lacking really good eateries - it seems odd that HB can't seem to sustain a couple of decent ones (the Thai is OK but the rest are unremarkable at best). The Robin Hood in Cragg Vales is better than any in HB imo.
I would have thought however that the town is much improved since its grimy 1970s appearance and the recent pedestrianisation makes it even better.
The food in Kitties is excellent. Moyles is very good - and good value, specially if you eat there early evening. Nelson's is excellent for cheap, wholesome and imaginative food. Not bad for a small town? Somewhere like Mill Bank (highly recommended) would be nice - but then Mill Bank isn't that far!