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From B. Unsworth

Sunday, 13 October 2013

We travelled an hour to visit Hebden Bridge on Sat 12th October, unfortunately after driving around for 1/2 hour, we couldn't find a free parking spot and ended up driving home.

If Hebden Bridge wants to portray itself as a tourist destination, it really needs to be more accommodating to out of town traffic.

From Marconiz H

Sunday, 13 October 2013

There is a wonderful train station to visit once you hop off the train next time.

From Jack Hughes

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Hang on a second. Where did you get the impression that Hebden Bridge wanted to portray itself as a tourist destination? There may well be a sizeable chunk of the town's population who might be at best indifferent, at worst antipathetic to tourism.

Am I wrong?

From Kez Armitage

Sunday, 13 October 2013

I find it quite disturbing that someone would drive for an hour, spend half an hour looking for a parking place, fail, and then presumably spend an hour driving home.

However bad the parking is in Hebden Bridge, it most certainly doesn't warrant such bizarre and wasteful behaviour. You can always park in Hebden Bridge. Honestly.

From Paul Clarke

Monday, 14 October 2013

Jack, yes you are. For better or worse we are a tourist destination which explains our higher than average number of small shops.

It may shock people in HB but people do drive places.

Although I agree that half an hour is enough to find a parking space even at the weekend.

From Benny M

Monday, 14 October 2013

Presumably the cost fuel spent driving around for 30 mins far outstrips the cost of pay and display.

Never mind the pollution.I am sure that the net contribution to our local economy would have been totally negative

From Paul D

Monday, 14 October 2013

Part of the problem is that the promotion of the town as a tourist destination lags an infrastructure to meet their needs. Local authority and regional interest bodies getting ahead of themselves.

Added to that is the fact that tourism, beyond the obvious beneficiaries in the centre, is economically a bit irrelevant. Again the cheerleaders and local government bodies ignore this. So locally we need people driving around and around looking for parking like a hole in the head, nice as each individual may be. Which is why parking is rubbish as there's no desire to actually increase the number of people stopping us getting on with our daily lives.

Haworth is a bit more accommodating as is Hollingworth lake. Here tourism is something you feed on or just gets in the way of more important things - sorry for the wasted journey and be sure that we''re friendly enough, just sick of being promoted as a 'funky' day out by people who mostly don't even live here.

From Andy M

Monday, 14 October 2013

HB is, and has been for a very long time, a day-tripper and tourist destination and thus it's vital for the towns economy. It's an integral part of the town and one that I, for one, have no problem with at all - despite not benfitting from it directly . . . except that I do since it helps to make the town an attractive place to live

From Graham Barker

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

On sunny weekends Hebden is heaving, so there's a parking problem. On dull or rainy weekends Hebden is not heaving, so parking is adequate. All we need to do is adjust the weather so that it always attracts exactly as many visitors as there are parking spaces for them.

From Jack Hughes

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

I can only assume that Paul Clarke must have misread my post. I know a number of people who avoid the town centre on bank holidays due to the tourist bustle. I can't believe that Paul cannot accept that to some residents tourism is at least a mixed blessing - saying that I am 'wrong' to suggest that not every Hebden Bridger welcomes tourism with open arms strikes me as breathtakingly arrogant. Or maybe I missed a meeting?

From Paul Clarke

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Jack, I didn't misread your original post but I was saying you were dead wrong to wonder if Hebden was portraying itself as a tourist town. All the marketing is aimed at the tourist trade as Jack may not have noticed but our mills are now closed down so we are left with tourism.

I didn't address the generalisation whether local people were pro or anti tourism as it is 'breathtaking arrogance' to say something with no hard evidence. I don't know how many are anti or pro tourism and seemingly neither does Jack.

Sadly there is nothing I can do about the timid souls who don't want to venture cos the nasty tourists are in town. No-one is going to stop me wandering round my town and to be honest I'm glad to see those horrid tourists spending money in local businesses.

The reality is Hebden Bridge is a beautiful place to live so it is obvious people will visit and long may that continue.

From Howard H

Thursday, 17 October 2013

And another thing.

I guess we all get blind to some things as the years roll by. However, on Valley Road, four parking spaces would be recovered, if those who constructed the 'temporary' car park had taken away their bags of hardcore waste and smashed up barriers. All just left dumped at the side of the road. Or is there some sort of exciting story behind retaining them?

From Paul D

Friday, 18 October 2013

There is no available data that accurately sets out the contribution tourism makes to the local economy. Regional data is itself flawed, including spending that has little to do with visitors.

When people in this town starts to treat with caution the claims of the cheerleaders of tourism - usually direct beneficiaries of it - sense will return.

It is not and never will be a major economic force here. Not even all local shopkeepers benefit. It's gross stupidity to encourage it is my view at least. At its worst it stifles and corrodes local culture. I feel that more are coming to this view. It cannot be right that the direction of a town is determined by half a dozen shopkeepers and their elected and unelected chums.

From The Book Case

Saturday, 19 October 2013

I realise that Paul D has a bee in his bonnet about the evils of tourism, but he really shouldn't be allowed to get away with complete misrepresentations.

According to Calderdale Council the tourism economy in Calderdale is worth in the region of £250 million with 4,200 FTE
jobs. Now you may be able to argue around the edges of these figures, but that's a substantial amount of jobs. Consider that Hebden Bridge, precisely because it has worked hard to attract visitors, will be over-represented in terms of tourism jobs, and you can see that tourism is a significant contributor to the local economy. Apparently Paul D would be happy to throw these jobs away.

As for the charge that tourism stifles and corrodes local culture, surely the reverse is true. Its because of the additional income from visitors that cultural events and venues are viable.

From our business's point of view, and we are in the 'cultural sector', the majority of our customers are local people. However, its questionable whether without the additional income that visitors produce, we would be able to succeed in providing what we know is a valued local service.

And of course, study after study shows that thriving local retail businesses have a multiplier effect in boosting the rest of the local economy.

Paul D might be happy to see visitors disappear, and the streets of Hebden full of boarded windows, pound shops and payday lenders. I suspect that few others see that as an enticing prospect.

From Paul D

Sunday, 20 October 2013

If a concern with a distorted economy can be summarised as having a bee in one's bonnet then yes perhaps, but I've nothing against tourists, just a worry that tourism is becoming the tail that wags the dog.

In terms of facts, there are more than arguments around the edges of provided data. For example, visit England put out data for 10 million overnight trips in our region in 2010, but only 29% were tourism related, the rest were for business or to see friends or family. The figures for tourism's contribution to GDP are also flawed, as they are linked directly to levels of employment in sectors or sub-sectors that serve everyone. It's like when developers say we can create 200 new local jobs if we just build a supermarket on our green space. This is not some blurring of the edges, it's the presentation of workforce data and other national datasets by local authorities whose agenda is one of promoting tourism. For example, tourism, even on flawed data, is supposed to contribute 5 million to the economy of Calderdale, and contributes 68 million to the economy of Leeds, so Leeds is tourist dependent then? We're like tourism crack addicts on the basis of this 5 million (of dodgy calculated cash) shared between all the towns and villages of Calderdale compared to the minimal effect the 68 million sploshing down in one place has, the figures are just being used to sell an agenda here that's all.

Our own tourism sector relies mostly on domestic excursionists (day trippers to you and me), they do contribute of course, over 30% to beverage retailers (like cafes) but not so much to anything else. My point isn't that some sub-sectors of the local retail or service economy don't benefit, but that our eye is taken off the economic reality of the need to build productive sustainable activity, support agriculture and yes promote the service sector. So, has anyone caluculated the loss of income to retailers from local purchasers who in my view are increasingly inclined to give the crowded, sticky bun streets a miss at key times of the week? Do Calderdale care about the social and cultural impact of residents being seen as extras in somebody else's cheap day out? Tourism is at heart unecessary consumption, it's the commodification of a whole town that bothers me, the town becomes the experience, the day out, I don't hate tourists or tourism, just think we should put it back in its box.

And the point of the Book Case is a good one, it may be this marginal but postive impact that is crucial. However, the alternative is not boarded up shops, payday loans and poundland, all the evidence is that these set up where average incomes are very much lower than here. Our retail landscape if anything reflects the growing wealth of our residents. And tourism is culturally corrosive, you can go to any bar in Goa and see any sky channel you like (I'm told), we have themed cafes such is the need to stand out as well - a cafe. And I don't see any positive link between tourism and local culture, for example does the Handmade Parade link to tourism and tourist spending? It appears the opposite is the case. It appears to be very much an assertion of local creative energy done by and for local people.

So if the debate can be had that's fine, but questioning the role tourism plays and should play is very healthy indeed. It's not a bee in a bonnet to wonder why local manufacturing is neglected, agriculture ignored and why the only show in town (in the minds of many) is feeding on this hard to pin down economic impact of day trips. Over 37 percent of residents in our region are economically inactive, almost 10 percent unemployed, up to a quarter of the under 25s, selling coffee and cakes 'aint going to change that. Maybe if people just read more widely....


From Anne H

Monday, 21 October 2013

I'm sure that B. Unsworth is fed up with all this naval gazing - all he wanted to do was point out that he couldn't find anywhere to park so had to leave without visiting our town (and incidentally without spending any money here).

I have also had to turn round and go home because there was nowhere to park on a very busy Sunday - even with a disabled badge when I was taking my daughter to the pictures.

B. Unsworth could have been someone visiting on business or visiting friends and family - the outcome would have been the same.

The term tourist is misleading, there are really only residents and visitors. All visitors and most residents contribute to the retail economy of Hebden Bridge to some extent. But to use the shops we have to be able to get here - by train, bus, cycling or walking. And for many, the car is the only possible or practical method. So it is extremely frustrating to get here and find nowhere to park and I sympathise with the initial poster. Having said that it is very unusual not to be able to find a space at all so I wouldn't expect that to put anyone off coming again.

From Paul D

Monday, 28 October 2013

I guess naval gazing in this context is shorthand for thinking and/or discussing something that other people don't, or can't be bothered to think about and discuss in narrow terms ie where do I park my car.

But making the connection between promoting mostly vehicle dependant day tourism in a small town in a cleft where two rivers meet, steep hills, with not much flat space, with no infrastructure to cope is important isn't it?

The pollutants that are consistently measured above safe levels outside the co-op in that funny green box are important, the killer particulates dispensed at toddler face level as residents and visitors alike spew and queue in traffic chasing a space to park. All this is related, relevant and we must not just lie down as the economy and our children choke.

Finding a place to park is about three stages from where our thinking could be. But it's true that most find that thought process irrelevant, uneccessary and even uncomfortable.

From Peter Greenwood

Monday, 28 October 2013

I spent over £200 in Hebden Bridge last Sunday and enjoyed the shopping experience in your lovely town. But I will never visit again due the inappropriate actions of your parking officer. The council may have taken £25 form me but the local businesses have lost hundreds over time, coupled with the bad press I will pass onto all my friends. Well done you have forced me and many others to give you lovely town the cold shoulder.

From Dave R

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

As Mr Greenwood doesn't let us know what was 'inappropriate' about 'our' traffic warden's behaviour, this may not be a fair comment. But, sadly like most small and popular towns in Calderdale, we now have parking charges. I think they are clearly displayed. Obviously they prevent people from parking willy nilly as they please, otherwise we wouldn't have the first poster complaining that he couldn't find anywhere to park?
It is a shame for local businesses that you aren't going to visit and spend your couple of hundred quid in our town again, but if I were visiting anywhere to shop I would expect to pay and adhere to the parking charges.

From Jack Hughes

Thursday, 31 October 2013

I too am sorry that Mr (?) Greenwood was left with a negative impression of our town. Given my previous comments on (perceived) local ambivalence towards tourism I'd be very interested in a breakdown of how he managed to spend the (to me, at least) impressive sum of £200 in one short visit. (Assuming that he spread his purchase power fairly evenly, rather than impulsively deciding to do the weekly shop in our favourite local supermarket, or being tempted by a couple of vinyl albums in a charity shop window).

See also:

HebWeb Forum: Parking at Walkleys (Aug-Sept 2013)

HebWeb Forum: Parking Charges (Dec-Jan)

HebWeb Forum: Limited Parking Affecting Business (Nov 2011)

HebWeb Forum: Garden street car parking (2007)