Today the Courier launches an eight-week campaign to uncover everything that’s great about the market town of Elland.
Residents have strong views on what makes the town tick, what it has going for it and what can be done to make it a better place to live, work and socialise.
Elland is a thriving community with a proud heritage - and a great future as one of the industrial and commercial powerhouses of Calderdale.
And we want to hear from you.
If you’ve got a news story or something you want us to feature, get in touch and join us in taking Pride in Elland.
We’ll be featuring businesses, schools, clubs, shops, organisations - you name it, if it’s in the Elland area we’ll be taking a look.
And we begin today by asking Elland residents what they think about their town - and whether Elland really has been forgotten about..
The Courier’s Toby Higgins reports...
‘There’s so many new improvements’
Pat Allen, an Elland councillor for 12 years, said there was a lot to be positive about in Elland.
“We’ve just got news that the Whitwell Green Lane children’s play area has finally got around £70,000 worth of funding, which they’ve been waiting on for years, and the refurbishment of the Hullen Edge skate park is coming up soon.
“There’s also the new Morrison’s supermarket, which is long over due and which has huge support, and we’re fighting to save the swimming pool.
“Elland has been overlooked at times for various reasons, but there is a lot to be positive about at the moment.”
‘People are taking pride in their town’
Mary Rumble, an Elland resident for 27 years, is the divisional commissioner for Brighouse and Elland brownie and guide groups, and believes that Elland has a lot going for it.
“It’s a lovely little town,” she said. “People are taking more pride in the area and there are groups which are working hard to make the town look attractive.”
“Things are definitely happening here for the better but it’s just a case of letting people know how they can access them.”
“But it could do with some more activities for young people, particularly teenagers.
“Taking the swimming pool away is ridiculous - my daughter learned to swim there. Loads of kids did. But not everyone can get to Halifax, Brighouse or Sowerby Bridge.”
‘I feel at home there as soon as I arrive’
Charles Morris, owner of Rex cinema for 23 years, said Elland was a nicer town now than when he first bought the business.
Despite living in the lake district, Charles said: “I feel at home in Elland. I travel one hundred miles to get there every Tuesday and I feel at home there as soon as I arrive. I know it better than I know the town I live in.”
“I’ve always found it a very friendly place, and we’ve now got a loyal customer base at the Rex. There was quite a bit of crime when I first arrived but that seems to be much less of an issue now too.”
‘We need to stop missing out on facilities’
Norman Kemp, a Greetland resident for 50 years and former president of the Rotary Club of Elland, holds a view shared by many who live in the town and its surrounding villages.
“Something needs to be done in Elland, but I just can’t put my finger on what that is,” he said. “I think we’ve missed out a lot through local government reorganisation over the years and still do this day.
“The fact Brighouse and Sowerby Bridge got new swimming pools and they’re talking about closing Elland down is a sign that we’re missing out again.
“There isn’t the community spirit there once was and I think when they built the by-pass they split the town in two which didn’t help.
“But people really came together to support the super market and there are groups like the Elland and District partnership who are doing good things.”
‘Not enough people bang the drum’
Joe Braithwaite, or ‘Mr Elland’, as many refer to him, is the chairman of Elland and District Partnership.
He and the forty members of the partnership work tirelessly to drive Elland forward and he hopes the up coming Morrisons development will be the first step towards a better Elland.
“Hopefully, once the new supermarket is built and Pennine Housing finish the housing developments in the town, there will be a population boom,” he said.
“If that happens, they’re going to want to be able to use the facilities which are currently under threat in the town, like the swimming pool and the library.
“We’ve got some fantastic schools in Elland, Brooksbank and Old Earth primary in particular, and that draws people in even from outside of Calderdale. But the town needs to back those up with adequate facilities which will encourage people into the town centre.”
Joe said that, unlike other areas of Calderdale, Elland always seems to be forgotten about.
“Not enough people bang the drum for Elland,” he said. “People are very cosy and comfortable living here and don’t really shout for the town. We always seem to be last in the queue for money.
“In the last twenty or thirty years things should have been moving forward but they haven’t and now we’re fighting to keep our facilities open, though the current councillors are doing a good job in moving Elland forward at the moment.
“But it’s a nice place to live with low crime rates and I’m always very optimistic about Elland,” he said.
Got an Elland story? Call Toby Higgins on 01422 260200 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org