Reflection: Shouting about England’s best kept secret

Congratulations to everyone involved in the library opening
Congratulations to everyone involved in the library opening

This month the new Halifax Development Board met for the first time, and brings together a number of stakeholders to share ideas and act as a sounding board for the ongoing regeneration of Halifax.

There is everything to play for, and high in the minds of the Board is the question what makes a good town? I have no doubt that we will all have an opinion and differing answers, but let’s be clear it has to include issues like the environment, health, housing, employment, leisure, education, culture, spirituality, to name just a few of the important ingredients in no particular order of merit.

The success of Halifax is not only important for the people of Halifax, it also acts as the gateway into Calderdale, and therefore there needs to be some partnership from those living in the valleys, to recognise that the economic success of Halifax brings significant benefits to the whole Borough.

The Halifax Heritage Weekend saw the official opening of the new Library and the reopening of the Industrial Museum. Hearty congratulations to everyone involved – it has been quite a journey for both projects, and now with a significant amount of determination and vision, they are making a great contribution to the life of the town.

At the opening of the new Library, I got into conversation with a few colleagues about the town and cleanliness. Having spent time over the Summer in both France and Germany, I was particularly struck by how clean the towns and cities were, and back home in Halifax there seems to litter and rubbish on every street corner? This subject came up recently too at a meeting of retailers organised by the Halifax BID (Business Improvement District) and how the new Ambassadors were spending hours trying to organise rubbish being removed from areas of the town. I believe this is a cultural issue, and one that reflects civic pride in the area we live. Reading the Courier, I regularly see local people running the town down, blaming everything on the Council, and always, its someone else’s responsibility and fault?

A few weeks ago Halifax appeared in the top ten of new places to come and visit, and wouldn’t it be great, if as part of that experience, we were voted the cleanest town in England? There are somethings we can do, and there are some things we can’t do? If all of us took responsibility to pick up litter when we see it, and not simply walk past for someone else to deal with it, and if the Council and the Halifax BID can find a way to persuade the retail sector and Industry, to clean up their act, then we might have a chance of making a difference?

We need to restore civic pride and not just our heritage buildings, and we need to start now, because I for one think the town is a great place to live and work, and we need to start shouting from the roof tops about England’s best kept secret!