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Campsite on the park!

From Jenny B

Friday, 4 April 2014

Please tell me the report about turning the park into a campsite (HB Times 3rd April) is an April Fool's joke.

From Paul Clarke

Friday, 4 April 2014

I think it is happening.

I wonder how much they paying to rent the space?

From Joel B

Friday, 4 April 2014

82 tents pitched with cars, plus toilets and shower facilities. Yet the council will still expect Hollins Holme AFC to pay £570 in pitch fees at the start of the season for what could potentially be a mud bath or a pitch without grass!

From Felicia J

Friday, 4 April 2014

I feel quite strongly that the park should be defended and kept as such for the people of Hebden to use, there aren't many green open spaces like that for people to be in after all in this town.

The park land seems to be getting chiselled away slowly over time and it's original purpose changed.

Has there been any public consultation? I'm worried this could be the thin end of the wedge once allowed and lead to almost continuous occupation as a camp site over the summer if the same justifications are used as were reported in the Bridge Times.

From Paul D

Saturday, 5 April 2014

There has been a systematic neglect of Calder Holmes for years. The pitch barely meets required league standards yet is the only one in town. The bowling green was neglected the club chased out. The tennis courts given over to graffiti and litter. The putting green abandoned. Our swimming pool was closed some time since, they closed youth house closed the adult education centre. Everything axed or neglected. Welcome to Hebden Bridge but don't try living here.

Local footballers should not have to collect glass, litter and dog dirt before kick off, bowling, tennis and swimming should be encouraged not excluded. The priorities are all wrong here, camping is just one more concession to visitors at the expense of local use. As we watch these campers appropriating the green space we can no doubt offer to volunteer to clean up as they leave their cheap tents and litter behind. That seems to be our role, to make way as others 'enjoy' our town, then pay for and put up with any disruption and mess. No doubt there is a model projecting how many millions this event brings. Look at the park, look at the things we''ve lost, what a joke.

From Damon Bridger

Saturday, 5 April 2014

How absolutely ridiculous! Why be against having a campsite on the park? Hebden is known for it's liberal, laid back attitude and a campsite will not only bring extra revenue to the town but will also add to Hebden's quirkiness. My only negative thought is that those blasted dogs that aren't on leads will be allowed to run amok on the campsite urinating and defecating everywhere. Let's hope the council put a ban on the doggies off leads brigade!

From Paul Clarke

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Damon, I fail to how a campsite taking up a significant amount of public space somehow adds to the 'quirkiness' of our town.

I wonder if anyone can enlighten me who made this decision - was it Hebden Royd or Calderdale?

BTW...I fully accept this festival contributes to our area's economy and this may be the best /only solution to their accommodation problems, but was there a requirement /obligation for public consultation?

From Vicki U

Sunday, 6 April 2014

I think the Round Table are running the camp site on the park so that visitors have somewhere to stay during the blues festival. We have very little accommodation in H/B.

The charges would make up the monies lost by not having a bonfire and fireworks display. As the Round Table does a lot of good work in raising money for local charities, why don't we just see how it works out, nothing is carved in stone, can't we be a bit charitable in return.

From Felicia J

Monday, 7 April 2014

But is it about charity or profit for business, ie the Blues Festival initially? Who will benefit long term?.

Space is at a premium in the town center as we all know. This is the last remaining free public area of any size and a campsite/s would remove the public from that area

The park is for the use of all the people who live in Hebden Bridge, there isn't another area to use if its a nice day and you want to be outside.If it takes an amenity away from people who live here who is actually paying for this in real terms?

Some kind of consultation would have been nice.

From Paul D

Monday, 7 April 2014

I didn't know the Round Table had the authority to open and close access to public space without so much as an application to the relevant authority?

And not being a killjoy but what about the people living close by whose evening will be spent listening to up to 150 people bedding down for the night?

There's no shortage of accommodation. We have 2 campsites as well, plus goodness knows how many hotels and B&Bs. The Blues Festival is fine as a non camping event. If people want to stay over, they can pay or get the bus home. I don't see where our park fits in to their night out.

From Andy M

Monday, 7 April 2014

Are we becoming a 'visitors welcome as long as they clear-off at 5pm' town?

Surely that would make them day-trippers and we don't like them do we? We like 'real' visitors . . . who stay overnight!

I'm confused


From Dave R

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Whilst, those who 'manage' our town centre, may well be looking to attract long stay visitors, I cannot see how this event has been allowed.

The park is a public place, so surely, some sort of consent must be applied for before it is cordoned off for the use of a few hundred. I would imagine that those who have made this decision have considered that others may follow? We could see the park becoming a seasonal campsite. e.g. Le tour visitors; Arts festival visitors; Brownies; cubs - the list is endless.

Meanwhile, our public park is not accessible to the public.

There are plenty of fields and woodland that owners would let out for camping short term. There is therefore, no need for us to be charitable and let it be. For residents in the vicinity, I imagine the noise level will not be acceptable. For all of us that will pay for the provision of toilets, clearing up, etc it is not acceptable. For the local football teams who will see their pitch ruined, for our children who want to play, for families who wish to picnic, walk dogs, use the skate park, it will be a no go zone.

I would like to hear our town councillors views on this.

And wasn't there once an option to provide longer term accommodation in Hebden Bridge. Browns site? Hotel? Oh it was turned down, Or did I imagine those loud outcries of 'we have plenty of accommodation in Hebden Bridge'?

From Colin C

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Is this a case of wind up the Hebdenites and watch them go?!
I strongly suspect that this was the HB Times attempt at an April Fool.

From Myra James

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Point of information - the planning application for a hotel and supermarket on Brown's site was not turned down - it received approval last December.

From John Rhodes

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Dave R says, "Browns site? Hotel? Oh it was turned down, Or did I imagine those loud outcries of 'we have plenty of accommodation in Hebden Bridge'?" Actually, Dave, it was approved...you must have been in the park when that happened.

I'm slightly surprised by the outcry which has greeted the proposal to open up the park for camping. I don't see why it necessitates the park being closed to the rest of us and would think it would be a lot less disruptive than the bonfire which in some wet years caused real damage to the pitch in the football season. One side benefit will be that for a week-end dogs won't be pooing on the pitch...one assumes the campers won't be either.

As for those who are moaning at the lack of open space...raise your gaze and look around you. You're surrounded by wonderful country-side open to all for free.

As someone who enjoys the free gigs over the week-end I'm prepared to put up with a little inconvenience, if there is any, for that substantial benefit.

I do agree with those who have commented on the way in which some of the park facilities have been allowed to decay. However, that is hardly an argument that bears on the issue of camping.

From Dave R

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Goodness, the red pens were quick, I am aware of the planning decision re Brown's hotel, just not quite awake.

The issue of camping on the park is not one that is critical of the music festival. But I don't personally feel that the event needs a campsite to make it more successful. I also feel very strongly that public places should not be cordoned off for private use.

I do hope that as others have suggested, the report was a bad April fools joke, if so at least if camping on the park does become a real proposal, we have already opened a dialogue as they say.

From Kez Armitage

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Presumably the council (or whoever gave permission for this campsite) consulted with (or, at the very least, had the courtesy and decency to communicate with) those residents whose properties either overlook, or are close to, the park?

From Dave R

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

See this page

From Claire M

Friday, 11 April 2014

Perhaps as a one off it would be ok but I'd worry this would become a trend.

Perhaps more of us could use Airbnb and advertise a spare room on there for big occasions. I've always found my experiences really good.


From Martin F

Monday, 14 April 2014

If it really is just a 'one-off', so as to provide 'accommodation' for people attending the Blues Festival, I don't have any objections -provided the area is properly cleaned up after the campers have left.

The area in the park where the bonfire used to be held was always a mess for a long time afterwards and I was never sure if it was cleaned or if the rubbish just blew away!

Let's have an undertaking by the council to have the area properly cleaned up within, say, three days after the end of the Festival.


From Nicole F

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

As a regular user of the park I have to pick up bottles, broken glass and other items of rubbish after it has been busy the day before before i can use it so can't expect the council to pick up the rubbish after camping. New bins have been put in the park but no one uses them. Especially after nice weather and young men drinking.

It is also one of the few areas I can let my dog run as it is lambing season on the hills - yes, I pick up any mess and she doesn't "run riot". If they close the park to regular users they need to provide us with an alternative area to use.

From Jason Elliott

Monday, 19 May 2014

How come this is the only thread with an exclamation mark? Seems a little tabloidish to me.

Anyway, I'm sure you'll be delighted to hear that we are not going to use the football pitch for camping.

Yes folks, it was the football pitch and not "the park".

Still, never mind. This isn't the place to let facts get in the way of a good scare story.

This is the last Hebden Bridge Blues Festival too, I'm sure you will also be pleased to hear, so I would like to take the opportunity and address some of your concerns.

"I wonder how much they paying to rent the space?" writes Paul Clarke.

Well that would be the Round Table you would need to ask, as you know, but Peter Vardy from Calderdale MBC is in charge of these things so you could ask him, although the cost is relatively low I'd imagine. Around £100 plus a complex management plan last time I looked.

"...what could potentially be a mud bath or a pitch without grass!" says Joel B

Really? Months later at the start of the football season, from a few tents? Better not tell Joel there used to be a bonfire there...

"The park land seems to be getting chiselled away slowly over time and it's original purpose changed." say Felicia J

Facts, evidence and examples rather than assertions please Felicia. Or are you talking about the burnt patch in the corner that got "chiselled away" to make a skatepark?

Now on to Paul D's entertaining contribution...

"Local footballers should not have to collect glass, litter and dog dirt before kick off, bowling, tennis and swimming should be encouraged not excluded. The priorities are all wrong here, camping is just one more concession to visitors at the expense of local use."

Why would you expect Blues fans to leave broken glass and dog dirt on the pitch? More to the point, why would you expect it to stay there until the football season starts in a few months time? What has swimming got to do with anything? Why are you mentioning it? And we are depriving people of bowling? How would that be then?

"we can no doubt offer to volunteer to clean up as they leave their cheap tents and litter behind."

Over the years, I have put on The Big Green Weekend and subsequently what has become the most influential Blues Festival in Britain in Hebden, yet I have never asked you for any help, ever, so please explain why you feel that it would be you, Paul, who would have to clean it up. (And I'm so glad your tents are expensive. Can't have poor people in the park now can we. How jolly frightful!)

Paul's final bombshell is "Look at the park, look at the things we''ve lost, what a joke." (sic)

So Paul, what has the Blues Festival caused you to lose? Be specific if you want to be taken seriously.

You have a huge number of free gigs to enjoy, and yes, the town does get a lot of money, all from an event that we fund without one single penny from tax payers or rate payers, so I ask you again Paul; what is it that we have caused you to lose? Exactly?

From Paul Clarke, "I wonder if anyone can enlighten me who made this decision - was it Hebden Royd or Calderdale?"

It was Calderdale that gave it the nod. I'm not sure that Hebden Royd are aware of the existence of the Blues Festival at all.

So anyway, this is the last one, so go and enjoy some of the many bands we've brought here who are playing gigs that are free to get into.

They really are of an extremely high calibre and have come from all over the UK.

With the exception of one tiny little project I still have left to finish, it is also the last involvement of mine with Hebden Bridge in any form too.

The Big Green Weekend was galvanising, the 500 faces project was an in-depth historical record of time, people and place, the Food & Drink Festival was delicious, and the Blues Festival is a national success, but That's All Folks!

It's been an interesting ride.

From Paul Clarke

Monday, 19 May 2014

Jason, thanks for the answers and good luck with whatever you do next.

From Vikki Uttley

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

I wrote back in April about the camping on the park and how we in Hebden Bridge are a mainly very hospitable to visitors, but no, it would seem we can no longer allow visitors to the Blues Festival to camp three nights. Most of these people have little money for hotels, people like most of us. What a shame.

The visitors come to watch some of the best cutting edge blues bands around and we in Hebden reap the benefits as well, they do not come to cause mayhem but for the music. No wonder Jason Elliott has given up on the blues festival we not only lose the festival but an innovative hard worker for promoting Hebden bridge.

It was free music at a lot of venues. I expect, hope all those who objected to the use of the park will be joining friends of the park and will turn it into the oasis sans overnight visitors that they want. Just three nights!!!

From Jason Elliott

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Thank you for your support Vikki, but I'm afraid you're very much in the minority here.

As for "Most of these people have little money for hotels, people like most of us," considering Paul D's remark about cheap tents, it clearly isn't everyone.

From Paul D

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

I think Jason has done some very public spirited, creative and well received things that have added to the culture and status of the town.

It's odd then that in what reads like a farewell address he seems to focus on things people whose opinion he doesn't seem to care for, pointing to some possible problems with things that he's not bothered about doing anymore. It's like the sign in the grocer's shop in Heptonstall the week it closed down, berating local people for not coming in and buying anything.

A simple goodbye would do surely.

From Janet Moore

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Hi guys. Just would like to ay a huge thank you to Jason Elliot and all involved in the Blues Festival. Such a shame that it's the last one. A huge pat on the back to you all. I will certainly be dancing the night away this weekend!

From Andrew B

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

I think the issue with regards to the football pitch is, as Joel B says, that local clubs pay £570 a year to play on them and the standard of council pitches is already quite poor.

Any event has the potential to worsen the condition, local teams were unable to play for months after the bonfire and had to reschedule games at other pitches often on weeknights which aren't convenient for everyone (surely local people deserve facilities that they pay for, twice in the case of football teams!)

Let's not forget that it was June/July 2012 that Hebden Bridge flooded so yes - if the park was a bog and campers arrived, I would think it would still be a mess 2 months later!

The council do very little to support local football in all honesty (I think they're too into cycling at the moment!) If we all took our bat and ball home every time someone criticised us on this forum then we'd all be upset some of the time.

Well done for all you've done for those who enjoy it though.

From Bob Deacon

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

How can we encourage Jason to hand over his expertise to others who might want to carry on the Blues Festival including the camping too so it become an established slot in the HB festivals calender along with the piano, burlesque, folk, arts etc events which were proudly advertised in the new HB Visitors Guide (downloadable from this website and available from TIC).

Visitors to the town contribute money and sustain jobs. We need them. Along with many others I am really appreciative of the contribution that JE has made to the town. My worry is that the perpetual negativity in many HebWeb threads has contributed to JE's throwing the towel in. I hope that is not the case.

From Jason Elliott

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Bob, the perpetual negativity and spurious assertions from from the keyboard warriors here isn't the cause. It's just another symptom.

Of the various things I've done in this town, almost always funded personally, this forum will only criticise and say "they" should have done this or that.

After the first Blues Festival, I put a comment on here to thank the people of Hebden for their hospitality and the very first response was a complaint that I hadn't put enough free gigs on "I would like to ask if there is any possibility of more 'free' open air street events next time. Most events were costly to those on lower incomes, and many people I spoke to were not sure if they would like to listen to a jazz/blues event for a couple of hours, so were reluctant to pay. The odd free act wasn't that well publicised..." so I'm used to it now.

There were 9 free gigs in that instance. There are 25 this year.

How many of these have ever been paid for HRTC or CMBC (or Paul D et al for that matter)?

None, of course.

I am not alone in feeling this way either. Most of the people who actually "do" things in this town no longer see the relevance of engaging with this forum. The nonsense over the bench video was the tipping point for several that I know.

Another perfect example is the Hebweb in general. The intellectuals and politicians love to add "the UK's first community web portal" into their list of why Hebden is so great and why they moved here from Islington or wherever, but to they support it and advertise on it? Of course not.

There's currently a cover story about the new Mayor, but have HRTC, or CMBC for that matter, ever advertised on here to get any message out? Not a chance. They just see it as a free asset that will be here forever and needs no support. (Jason, HRTC do advertise from time to time - Ed)

This entire approach is unsustainable, however it is the standard gentrification model. Witness Notting Hill, Brixton, Rotherhithe being renamed Surrey Keys, Salford, the West Village in Manhattan etc etc.

The same is happening here as many good people I know have been moving to Todmorden and Mytholmroyd in the last couple of years.

Idiotic programmes on the BBC about Hebden being Britain's second city and the article in the Times about the "coolness" of Hebden and how everyone should move there, just add to the bloated sense of self-importance that's rife here.

All the North needs is "benefit" of money from the South, then we can all be like them, apparently.

Personally, I prefer the North to be a bit Northern, and that includes Hebden Bridge.

(The HebWeb is actually very grateful for all the great support it has received over nearly 20 years, including from Jason, and especially to those who have helped make the site viable with their listings and ads - Ed)

From Gerard Liston

Sunday, 25 May 2014

I was unaware of the heated local online discussion until talking with Jason at Hope Baptist Church - of which I am a member - while attending the second evening of the HB Blues Festival.

We have had the privilege of working with Jason, Paddy and their team of professionals this year and last year, providing a venue for the Main Stage. I share Vikki's view that losing this festival is a huge loss for the town.

Anyone who's seen the commitment and sheer hard graft that's required to put on an event like this should be filled with admiration for the team. We have been thrilled to see our sanctuary space used to share the work of some of the finest blues musicians in the world.

Whatever, we can do to help with your future ventures, Jason, please talk with us. We'd love to help if we can!

Thread now closed - Ed