Discussion Forum
Big Green Weekend

From Susan Quick
Sunday, 25 May 2008

I am deeply concerned re the location of the Big Green Weekend. The cobbled area of the Marina is virtually inaccessible for those of us who are disabled. I'm lucky I don't use a wheelchair; during two brief visits I saw three wheelchair users. Sij's carer told me it was almost impossible to push Sij over the cobbles.

Why is the weekend being held on the marina? Someone said they think it very dangerous because of the traffic. One of the stall-holders told me the Council had told them they had to hold it on the marina. Which Council? Hebden of Halifax?

And why couldn't one of the other market areas be used? There are two large fully accessible market spaces in the centre of Hebden away from the dangers of heavy traffic.

Please if we are going to promote Hebden as a Green and environmentally friendly town, lets pay attention to full disabled access.

Susan Quick
Disabled representative
Hebden Bridge Town Partnership

From Kevin S
Monday, 26 May 2008

Its about time they used the Marina for something, and from the amount of visitors the Big Green Weekend market had, it was a perfect location and a huge success.

For once a market has been situated correctly, out and away from a
car park which is much needed in Hebden Bridge.

Another option would have been the pedestrian area up and down either side. Again this area is never used enough the Farmers' Market and weekly markets could be held along there but no they choose to use a car park, or was it always meant just so the cafes could rent table and chair space? Let's use these areas more and keep the car parks for parking.

From Jason Elliott
Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Thank you Susan for raising a valid point.

As the person who put this together, I am very happy to explain why this happened.

Initially, we wanted to hold the market in St. Georges Square and Bridge Gate as a centrepiece of a whole series of other activities going on around the town. I sure you know that both of these areas are pedestrianised so it came as somewhat of a surprise when the Highways Dept of Calderdale MBC let it be known that they would require £700 per road each day to close them off to traffic.
I was then reliably informed by a Council source that certain shops/cafes would, regardless of what actually occured, claim that their business had been hit by the close proximity of market traders and claim money from the Council.

The idea of hosting an event (or aspect of it) that was designed to bring people into Hebden Bridge on part of the town's limited carparking was also dismissed as being nonsensical. (I cannot really understand why the markets are held on carparks anywhere, not just in Hebden. It is an amazing example of the lack of joined-up thinking regularly exhibited by councils countrywide.)

This left the Marina as the best bet. I appreciate that the cobbles are very difficult to negotiate, of course for people in wheelchairs, but in far greater numbers parents with children in buggies, but unfortunately there was no real alternative.

Many people came up to me during the course of the weekend to say what an excellent idea it was that a seriously underused area of public land was having a little life breathed into it, albeit on a temporary basis.
Granted, none of this approval came from people in wheelchairs, nor pushing buggies, but as a sentiment, it was the prevailing one.

If it is to be held there next year, I would be very willing to take your advice on any ramping, pathways or matting that could be laid to enable easier access.