Thousands of Brighouse residents and visitors have earned thanks from the Calderdale Council and Brighouse Town Deal Board for their active involvement in the three-week engagement process regarding the £19.1 million Town Deal. The government-backed initiative aims to revitalise Brighouse, making it a more vibrant and enticing destination for shopping, leisure, and community activities.

The comprehensive array of government-funded projects was unveiled through open events, online platforms, and printed materials, running from 15th May to 4th June. The purpose was to grant every individual the opportunity to offer their valuable insights and feedback.

Among the latest proposals were updated designs for the eagerly awaited new market building, along with visual representations showcasing the potential transformation of Brighouse’s town centre. Notably, the plans included the creation of a new event space at Thornton Square, which received positive reception during the public engagement.

An important focus of the Town Deal is the prioritisation of pedestrians over vehicles. To achieve this goal, adjustments in the traffic flow around the town centre are proposed, striking a balance between ensuring easy access to shops, businesses, and venues while creating a safer and more welcoming environment for pedestrians.

The level of public involvement was truly encouraging, with nearly 300 individuals providing detailed responses to the survey. Additionally, almost 9,000 people thoroughly reviewed the plans online, while several hundred more attended two open events hosted at Brighouse Open Market and the Central Methodist Church.

According to the feedback gathered, an overwhelming 64% of participants expressed their support for the proposed changes to Commercial and Bethel Street. Furthermore, 69% of respondents showed enthusiasm for the plans concerning Thornton Square, and a significant 65% backed the design concepts for the new market.

While the majority of feedback was positive, some concerns were raised regarding town centre traffic movements and parking. The authorities acknowledge these concerns and have committed to considering them attentively as they further refine the development plans.

Additionally, one common sentiment expressed in the feedback was the significance of the iconic tiled image that currently adorns the front of Brighouse Market. Respondents strongly urged that the image’s essence be preserved and thoughtfully integrated into the upcoming town centre designs. The authorities have taken note of this valuable input and will incorporate it into the future design process.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Towns, Tourism and the Voluntary Sector, Cllr Sarah Courtney, said; “It is very encouraging that so many people in Brighouse wanted to see the latest Town Deal plans and have their say on the proposals. Thank you to everyone who gave their time to give their views.

“The team delivering the projects is now working hard to see where some of the ideas from the engagement can be incorporated, including feedback around details like parking and access for deliveries and the importance of pedestrian spaces.

“The individual identity of each of our towns is what makes them so special, and it was great to hear from passionate local people in Brighouse, who share our ambitions for a safe, thriving and welcoming town.”

Chair of the Brighouse Town Deal Board, Cllr Howard Blagbrough, said; “The Brighouse Deal investment will have a huge impact on our town centre, and the engagement was a fascinating experience to really listen to people’s thoughts. There is understandable interest, passion and debate about what is involved and what it will mean.

“As the Town Deal Board, here to represent residents and businesses across Brighouse, we know there are many different views – from those who want full pedestrianisation to those who want more access for vehicles, and it is important we balance those and get this right within the objectives set by the government for the scheme and how the £19.1 million can be spent.

“It is not easy, but we are all working hard to achieve that, and I am confident the Deal will transform the town and be a first step that is a catalyst for further improvements and investment in the future.”

The next stage of the Brighouse Town Deal projects focuses on the finer design details and bringing the contractors who will deliver the work on board.

Work is likely to start on the market project first and it is hoped this will begin in early 2024, with the work on the rest of the town anticipated to start later in 2024.