Phone Catherine Price on 01422 846158 or email for further details
News that any reorganisation of primary schools in Hebden Bridge is to be dropped has been welcomed by local Calderdale Councillor Jane Brown (Liberal Democrat - Luddendenfoot).
Councillor Mrs. Brown told us: "This is very good news which removes the uncertainty over the future of our local primary schools. The number of surplus places in Hebden Bridge is not now at a level to cause concern and this means that there is no longer the pressure for the council to take any action".
"I was a member of the Save Our Schools campaign two years ago - before I was a member of the council. At that time Hebden Bridge was in uproar about the way the council handled the matter". (see earlier news items here on the Hebdweb) "One of the first things I wanted to do after being elected was to make sure that any future discussions about school reorganisations would be handled better. My Liberal Democrat colleagues and I suggested some improvements to the Education Department's consultation procedure back in July 1998. I am very pleased that these suggestions were taken on board. All the teachers and governors I have spoken to recently believe that the matter has been handled much better this time round. All the relevant people have been kept informed and involved from an early stage and this has paid off".
The owner of the Robin Hood in Crag Vale has decided to sell the pub. It has not opened since the New Year. The owner, Sidney Connor who lives in Newcastle, claims he has been unable to find the right sort of manager. Readers of this news section will be aware that three other local pubs remin closed - the Mount Skip, the Woodman and the Shoulder of Mutton in Blackshaw Head - more details of other closures.
Youth House has been closed without notice by Calderdale Council for safety reasons. The building in the centre of Hebden Bridge has long been the home of many community groups, including a popular pre-school playgroup, scouts and the Junior Band. Council engineers estimate that the improvements to make the building safe will cost £100,000. Among the many improvements necessary are re-wiring and improvement to the toilets. Users are angry and have blamed the council for not maintaining the building properly.
The recently established Hebden Bridge Alternative Technology Centre is celebrating the award of a £5000 grant from the Millennium Festival Awards For All Committee. The grant has been given to purchase equipment demonstrating earth-friendly technologies including: a solar water heater; solar water pump; a sun-pipe (a pipe with a highly reflective interior for bringing daylight to lower storeys); a reed bed system for purifying water; a small wind charger; and an exercise bike for recharging batteries.
Most of the demonstration equipment will soon be on view at the Centre. The solar water pump will be used for irrigating the community garden, to be based on permaculture principles, which is being established close to the Centre. Visitors to the ATC will be invited to pedal for power by getting onto the exercise bike to help recharge batteries at the Centre!
Calder High School opened fifty years ago today - the first comprehensive school in Yorkshire and, at the time, one of only a handful in the country. It was formed by a merger of several other schools including the Hebden Bridge Grammar School which is now Riverside Primary School. For the first few years, first year students at Calder High still attended this Hebden Bridge school. The recent Ofsted inspection reported that three quarters of lessons were good or better, a clear improvement on the previous inspection of 1995. The leadership and pupils' attitude were praised. Over-crowding was seen as a weakness. See full inspection report - you will need Acrobat to read it.
Hebden Bridge Picture House has been granted special protection by the Department of the Environment. It has been given a Grade 11 listing as a building of special historic and architectural interest. Although the listing will make sure the structure of the building is preserved, running costs and overheads are likely to increase.
Primary school performance tables were published this morning. The substantial changes introduced at Riverside since the the failed inspection have yet to show through in National Curriculum tests. The aggregate percentage for Maths, English and Science is down 13 points in comparison to previous years at 204. This is still disappointingly below the national average which is up 30 points at 216. Riverside School is the main town junior school and by far the largest in the area. Hebden Royd at Mytholm achieved 224, Colden 271, Heptonstall 250 and Old Town 282
School performance tables, published this week, reveal an improvement in the percentage of children gaining five or more GCSEs at Calder High School. The figure has risen to 46% from 38% this year and 45% in 1997 - still below the national average of 48%. Given the catchment area, many parents will find these results still disappointing.
However, the 'A' level results tell a very different story. The 73 A level students averaged 22.4 points. This was ahead of selective North Halifax Grammar School (20.9) and second only to selective Crossley Heath (28.1) in Calderdale. One more point would have put Calder High in the top 20 performing comprehensives (at A leve)l in the country.
At the Picture House on Monday 3 July. Ian McMillan plus primary school in afternoon. Ian McMillan is Northern Spirit's rail networks travelling bard, Barnsley FC's poet in residence, Yorkshire TV's investigative poet, presenter of R4 of Poetry Please and Booked. Also appearing next year will be Gervase Phinn and Anthony Browne. Full details on Arts Festival website
Hebden Bridge was packed solid yesterday evening with people going to the bonfire. They will all have seen a poster which was pinned to tree after tree. It was a chilling reminder that there is a murderer in our midst who has still not been caught. The poster was a picture of Lindsay Rimer, aged 13, who was killed five years ago today. The police have yet to arrest anyone in connection with this terrible crime or to say whether they have made any progress at all in their investigation. Lindsay was last seen leaving the Spar supermarket - her strangled body was found in the canal five months later.
Lindsays mother, Geri Rimer, has once again appealed in the local press for information. It happened in this community - it still affects this community - and I believe that someone from this community did this to Lindsay.
Mount Skip owner Andrew Marshall has submitted an appeal to the Secretary of State for the Environment following Calderdale Council's failure to determine his application to convert the pub into housing. Cllr Stewart Brown (Lab, Calder Valley) is urging new and old objectors to make representations to the Planning Inspectorate to save the Mount Skip Inn. "It is one of the most interesting and prominent inns in the South Pennines, being an old drovers' inn and former Chartist meeting place, and in recent times, a location for scenes in the forthcoming film "Fanny and Elvis". It would be devastating if the Mount Skip were lost, so it is important to make the Planning Inspectorate aware of the depth of feeling in our local community against this outrageous and audacious proposal. Crucially, the applicant never made any serious attempt to make the pub business viable and I hope this will weigh heavily against the application," said Cllr Brown.
The appeal is to be decided by written statements which Cllr Brown said must be received by the Planning Inspectorate by 26th November. Comments should be sent to:
The Planning Inspectorate
quoting reference APP/A4710/A/99/103 452
Over 200 hundred people are so worried about disturbing asbestos in Pecket Well, Hebden Bridge that they have signed a petition urging Calderdale Council to abandon their plan. The £4.8 million project is to make safe the former asbestos dump at Carr Head. The waste comes from the former Acre Mill which closed in 1971 - many of its former workers died, and are still dying, prematurely from asbestosis. Petition organiser, fluoride campaigner claims that local people would face fresh dangers if the site were disturbed and trees uprooted. Calderdale, on the other hand, take the view that there would be more danger if the site were left.
from Chris Lund
Amongst the planning notifications in this Friday's (15th October) Hebden Bridge Times is an application for change of use for the "Top" Shoulder of Mutton public house in Blackshaw Head. The present owners and licensees have been operating the business for considerably less than one year before which it suffered a period of closure of several months due to the business failure of the previous incumbents.
Blackshaw Head is a dendritic settlement with many residents inhabiting isolated farms and barn conversions. It is some years since the only shop closed, and since then the "Top Shoulder" has been the only community amenity remaining with the exception of the Methodist Chapel. It follows that the proposed closure will be a massive blow to any attempts to pull the village together socially, a fact well recognised throughout Calderdale at this time in the wake of the Mount Skip controversy. This was already reflected by the presence of the Top Shoulder on the list of pubs being considered by Calderdale for rate relief.
The present owners must have purchased in the full knowledge of the trading history of the pub and although they have taken a number of sensible steps to bring about a turnaround in the business, there has hardly been enough time for these to have taken effect and generate increased sales. A cynic might therefore wonder as to their intentions in making the purchase in the first place!
For reasons of preserving the amenity value, vigorous steps will be taken within the village to oppose this planning application and a petition is already being drawn up. Meanwhile, anyone wishing to write to Calderdale MBC to oppose this should do so with 21 days from 15/10/1999 to:
Director of Environmental Services
quoting reference 99/01404
Somewhat perversely perhaps, another important helpful activity is for as many people as possible to visit the Top Shoulder in the coming weeks, and hopefully continue to do so thereafter. Clearly an element of "use it of lose it" will be at play here and whilst this is most beholden on the local residents of the village itself, I am sure other concerned members of the public will also be most welcome. If driving poses a problem, please remember that a local bus service operates between the village, right outside the pub, and Hebden Bridge and buses back to Hebden can boarded as late as around 11pm most nights.
Fanny and Elvis, which was filmed largely in the Hebden Bridge area last October, premiered at the Leeds Film Festival last week. The film is a romantic comedy at the onset of the millennium. When would-be author Kate Dickson finds out that she has a year left to get pregnant and her husband Rob has run off with one of his students her biological clock starts ticking away like a bomb. Her search for the right sperm donor plunges Kate into a world of sperm counts, ovulation and IVF. Relationships, sex and fertility in the new millennium are at the heart of this exciting new romantic comedy from the pen of Kay Mellor.
Local people get the opportunity to see Fanny and Elvis very soon. It is to be screened at the Picture House from 19th November until 2nd December.
Once again, Hebden Bridge centre, near the Tourist Information Centre, has recorded more nitrogen dioxide than any other part of Calderdale!!! This is according to the "Air Quality Review" carried out by Calderdale Council. It is suggested that the high reading is caused by a combination of the valley effect and traffic queueing to pass the lights. Calderdale and Kirklees Health Authority reports that asthma in children has increased fivefold in the past twenty years.
Calderdale is withdrawing funding from Youth House in the centre of Hebden Bridge. Over the years it has been used by dozen of local community groups, especially the Hebden Bridge Play Group. The building clearly needs some rennovation, but there is not really anywhere else similar the community groups could use.
Today, the Height Gate Barn was formally opened by Chris McCafferty MP and Martin Wainwright, the Guardian's northern correspondent. Over a hundred people walked up the track from the valley road with their packed lunches to attend the opening and a planting of a rowan tree by our MP. The barn is on the tops in the vicinity of Stoodley Pike. Chris McCafferty praised the hard work and talent of all the people who had helped to make the project possible. She said she hoped that it would be publicised widely, including on the "Hebden Bridge Web" which she kindly described as "the best website this side of the Atlantic!"
The consumer programme, Your and Yours today featured an item on the local pubs, Mount Skip and the top Shoulder of Mutton which is also facing disappointing trade after its recent closure. The theme of the piece was that rural pubs are under threat and need support from local councils. Cllr Brown made the case for giving certain rural pubs rate relief, arguing that they are vital to the local community. Local campaigner for the Mount Skip told listeners of the pub's links with the Chartist movement of the mid 19th century. Current owner of the Mount Skip, Andrew Marshall declined to be interviewed.
Although it is likely not to be possible for a community voice to be heard on behalf of objectors to the proposal to turn the Mount Skip Inn into two houses, it is important for as many people as possible to attend the Planning Committee meeting on Tuesday 28 September 1999 (from about 6.30pm) to illustrate the depth and extent of concern on the part of those hundreds of people who voice objection to the application.
Research has shown that the Mount Skip Inn is probably the only surviving inn in West Yorkshire to have served as a meeting place for the radical movement of the early 19th century. More about the Mount Skip and its radical history.
Plans by its new owner, Andrew Marshall to turn the Mount Skip pub into residential accommodation have been rejected by Calderdale's planning committee. However, it may be some time before the building re-opens as a pub, and the planning committe's decision is due to be reconsidered by the Council next month
Calderdale Councillors were lobbied by a large crowd of Hebden Bridge residents as they went in for their meeting this evening at Halifax Town Hall and were presented with a petition with 5500 signatures. The Council accepted an amendment (with no opposition) that the development brief not allow any "significant" change to the capacity or character of the Hebden Bridge Picture House
Cllr Stewart Brown ( Lab. Calder Valley) has written to the Hebden Bridge Web: "It is a major victory for the people of Hebden Bridge and the patrons of the Picture House after a massive climbdown in response to public disquiet.Cllr Brown's full statement to us is reproduced on the Cinema News Page.
Last night's "Scrutiny" Committee (Room 101?) of Calderdale Council has called upon next Wednesday's council meeting to re-examine the future of the Hebden Bridge Picture House by reinstating the cinema into the Redevelopment Brief. All those who want to keep our cinema are being urged to join the MASS LOBBY of Calderdale Council next Wednesday at the Town Hall at 5pm - the council meeting starts at 6pm
The Hebden Bridge Web has received the following press statement from the Calderdale Council Liberal Democrat Group: "The future development of Hebden Bridge Cinema is to be discussed again at the Community Services Scrutiny Committee on Thursday. The recent Cabinet Committee decision to exclude the cinema from redevelopment proposals has been called in for further discussion by the Labour Chair of the committee, Councillor Linda Riordan (Ovenden) and Liberal Democrat Councillor Christine Bampton-Smith (Luddendenfoot)."Click here for the full statement
If this provokes comment from you, the Hebweb Discussion Forum is available.
Hebden Bridge M.P. Chris McCafferty has pledged her support for the campaign to save Hebden Bridge Cinema.Click here for the full statement
Cllr Stewart Brown (Lab) has this morning written to the Hebden Bridge Web that local Lib Dem Cllr Christine Bampton-Smith is trying to revive efforts to redevelop the cinema site. Cllr Brown says it is VITAL that her attempts to overturn last weeks decision are stopped and that the HB Times was far too optimistic about things. He desperately NEEDS people to lobby next Thursday's council committee meeting in Halifax Town Hall ( assemble from 5 onwards for the meeting @ 6 pm) to "stop this madness".
Press statement from Councillor Brown:
Cllr Brown said: "I can't thank people enough for the support I've had in my campaign to save our 'Cinema Paradiso'. I have been inundated with offers of help from all quarters - for example Ann Cryer MP remembered visits to the cinema with her late husband Bob and came over from Keighley to pledge her support - and although I would not like to name individuals the response of people associated with the Arts Festival, local businesses, the Ground Floor Project, the Trades Club, the Nutclough House Hotel and the former 'Friends of Hebden Bridge Picture House' in particular has been magnificent."
Click here for the full statement.
If this provokes comment from you, the Hebweb Discussion Forum is available.
The team from Riverside Junior School, Hebden Bridge has won the final of the West Yorkshire debating competition organised by Eureka, the children's science museum. In the finals which took place yesterday, they beat a team from St Bartholmew's in Leeds. The motion was: "Should we enter the new millenium as vegetarians?"
After a bitter debate, the Calderdale Council "Cabinet" has decided not to proceed for the moment with the proposed demolition of the Picture House. Apparently, it was the chair's casting vote which saved the building with at least one Hebden Bridge Councillor abstaining! The council now promises full public consultation before any further plans are considered. On Tuesday night the Picture House was full for Benjamin Zephaniah. Nearly all of the 500 attending signed the petition calling upon the Council to keep the building.
The new owner of the Mount Skip has shut the pub and is in the process of converting it into 2 houses. He has now re-applied for planning permission. This is our chance to object. Objections must be made in writing by 9th of July to the address shown on the letter. Click here for a copy of the letter which has been sent by people to the Planning Committee.
Plans being considered by Calderdale Council could lead to the demolition of the Hebden Bridge Picture House, according to reports in the HB Times and the Halifax Courier. The Hebden Bridge Picture House is one of the last remaining civic owned cinemas in Britain. Amazingly it can seat almost 500 people, making it one of the largest film theatres outside of the big city-centre chain cinemas. It opened in 1928 and is owned and run by Calderdale Council. One option is to see the cinema being replaced by a 150 seat cinema which would be privately run. Councillor Stewart Brown has described the idea as "municipal vandalism" an is organising a petition.
Riverside School, which failed its inspection two years ago is now out of special measures. One of the main criticisms was that it was failing to make full use of the talents of the local community. Recently, it's debating team has reached the finals of the Eureka debating competition, its chess team remains unbeaten by other local schools and its under 9s football team is through to the Pulse Radio West Yorkshire finals. Next week, the upper school will be entertained by poet Benjamin Zephaniah.
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