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Crown Street

From Janet Nash

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Just wondering if I’m the only person to think what they have done on Crown Street is an eyesore to our beautiful town, voted 4th funkiest town to live and visit?

Firstly Crown Street has been closed due to Covid! Not what I was told over 18 months ago that it was to be pedestrianised But it was all being kept hush hush!

I’m sure I never heard that prior to Covid and I’m sure I never got a letter about it.

Being born and bred in Hebden I would actually like to be informed about what’s going on in our town.

Well, anyway the powers that be have already started the work but I was imagining cobbled street with wooden planters not the ugly plastic bollards they are using for and excuses for planters. Crown Street should be our crowning glory! Not a street that like looks like something that has been thrown up in a city! 

Ugly plastic bollards to deter parking!

From Alan Truman

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

I think they look great. Im sure big wooden planters would have been nice too but when the supply chain is disturbed because of Covid they probably got what they could.

Design is always subjective but planted up they look good. Much prefer them to having to dodge lazy drivers doing the Crown Street loop so as to avoid having to pay to park their fossil fuel emitting machines.

Hope they pedestrianise the whole town actually. A much nicer environment now.

From Cath Gibbon

Thursday, 17 September 2020

The planters might look better than the barriers but to completely pedestrianize the whole of Hebden, to my mind that is a big no no, what would happen to all the local shops and businesses that rely on local shoppers?  These people will not survive without local shoppers and that means deliveries are needed to local shops. It also means encouraging shoppers into the town either local people or tourists.

To permanently remove parking on Crown street is not acceptable in the long term it basically is discriminating against the elderly, disabled, families with young children who need somewhere flat and close to shops to park. Also what about any of the local tradesmen who just want to get into Hebden , park grab a butty and go again. They are struggling to find somewhere to park and support the local shops in their lunch breaks. 

It is also pushing locals out to go elsewhere and I for one do not want to go to Todmorden, Sowerby Bridge or Halifax to shop I want to be able to support the local businesses.

So why only pick on Crown Street? 

Lets have them on Market Street , on Valley Road on Albert Street as well. That would then be completely following government guidelines to socially distance would it not ?

So do people actually want to get Hebden back to a ghost town like it was in the late 60s/70s ? 

We all have our own opinions which is fine. However,  the car is here to stay and we have to support our local town and use the local shops

Please also be aware that a lot of the community do not live in the centre of the town but on the hilltops. Some of these people have no access to public transport so they have to rely on their own means to get into the town to shop and support local independent businesses.

Also look at the state of the square on a weekend especially on a warm day, it is packed out no distancing at all which is basically  against the government guidelines.

From Tim M

Thursday, 17 September 2020

I think there's amazing potential to rethink the way traffic accesses and circulates around central HB - a huge missed opportunity for the A646 corridor improvement plans. All around the world there's evidence that pedestrianisation actually increases footfall in shopping areas - there's almost always a local protest about losing parking, but how many people actually park outside the shop they are visiting in European towns and cities (not like North America)? In the long run more people come, stay longer and spend more money. Who can remember how hideous Bridge Gate was for both cars and people until a decade ago?

All the issues, parking, disabled access and deliveries are surmountable - and pedestrianisation schemes can be much more attractive (see Bridge Gate). Imagine HB with a second riverside walk along Old Gate, a new public space on Crown Street and streamlined - congestion reducing - traffic flow on the A646 with these two junctions removed. You could go further and close Holme Street - better access for Riverside School and a pleasing route from the park and canal into town, and again reduce the congestion from those lights.

From Graham Barker

Friday, 18 September 2020

You have to be careful what you wish for on pedestrianisation. The only place where I’ve ever been able to ‘study’ it is Fort William, courtesy of many family holidays to the area. Its main shopping street was pedestrianised in the 1990s and the whole town quickly started losing its buzz. Early casualties were local businesses that had been there many years, replaced by Regatta shops, pound shops and charity shops. Big name closures followed until vacant shops and a tumbleweed atmosphere became a permanent feature on anything but warm, sunny days. There may have been other factors at work but pedestrianisation was regarded locally as a very significant one.

I see a similar deadness in northern towns that have pedestrianised shopping areas. I haven’t a clue what the formula is for getting it right but pedestrianisation clearly isn’t an automatic win-win. I suspect that in Hebden Bridge, pedestrianising any more than Bridge Gate and George Square might tip the balance the wrong way.

It has to be remembered that town centres are primarily centres of trade, not primarily nice traffic-free places to walk around. It’s great if they’re both but if established trade declines or goes elsewhere, changes that you don’t want might start happening fast.

From Tim M

Friday, 18 September 2020

I disagree Graham! I hear you in terms of town centre retail decline, but I think the examples you quote - say Rochdale, for example, the pedestrianisation is at worst a failed attempt to stop the decline. There's plenty of evidence for the success of traffic free schemes - nice examples here, along with some of the genuine disadvantages (increased rents for example). In Hebden though we do have a few problems - congestion, car parking, overcrowding - but being able to park outside the One Stop isn't really part of it.

I don't suggest for a minute that this is something done in isolation - but as part of other - already ongoing schemes for the town. So already some junction limitations to reduce congestion, possible closure of Old Gate (except for access) for flood defences. I just think we should go one step further!

Why? Well Old Gate is very narrow, the junction does cause traffic to slow, and is pretty dangerous - AND it would make a lovely traffic free riverside space. Crown Street is probably the widest street in the town centre so could host all sorts of events, and give more space for al fresco eating and dining. Again, this junction is the source of a lot of slowing of traffic on the main road.

Obviously these need funding - but imagine if done to the quality of Bridge Gate/St George's Square?

OK - you have to solve the issues it raises. Off the top of my head two main ones - you'd need to allow access to residents and businesses - this can be done as many a French or Italian city can show - think lifting bollards and very slow speeds. Parking is the real elephant in the room. I know we should be all Hebden and discourage it, but people do want to park - so yes, we need to sort - extra spaces due anyway, but could more parking be located around the town centre (in dribs and drabs?) I think yes. 

As far as tipping the economy over the edge - to be honest this is a tourist town - all our shops pretty much depend on visitors, otherwise we'd be like Bacup (no offense) - so anything that improves visitor facilities surely improves footfall and profit. And of course we may have much more long term Covid adjustments to make.

Just putting it out there. How about it local councillors?

From Ms Maldimente

Friday, 18 September 2020

I get where you're coming from Tim but there is a downside to pedestrianisation. There are many people living in the town centre who might prefer cars to the anti-social behaviour cafe and bar culture attracts - especially as the police station has gone and they are far too stretched to have a meaningful presence in town - most notably on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Square was supposed to be a relaxing leafy space - I remember the plans. Not the hideous mess of amplified noise and street furniture it has become. Your riverside walk is a nice idea, but people live along that road and might not be so well disposed to the buskers and drinkers who may commandeer the space once cars no longer pass through it.

This might work on the continent but perhaps they are more grown up than us - you only have to look at the smashed glass up Bridgegate every Sunday morning to appreciate what an anti-social bunch we really are. 

From Tim M

Saturday, 19 September 2020

I wouldn't dispute that anti social behaviour - drunks and amplified buskers are an issue in HB - they are, and powers exist to resolve them. I would say that reimagining our town where it isn't so dominated by the car is something we should be grasping with both hands. 

So a pedestrianised Crown Street might attract daytime buskers or evening drunks (I daresay it gets these anyway) but why are the hundreds of people who walk up it each day constrained to narrow pavements and exposed to NOx ? Our beautiful town is hidden behind badly parked cars belching fumes in our narrow valley!