Reflection: We need to ensure people have the best experience of Halifax

Halifax Minster is due to undergo fabric works over the next few years
Halifax Minster is due to undergo fabric works over the next few years

This is when they look back over the year gone, and elect new Officers for the coming year.

Those on the Electoral Roll of each church are entitled to vote for the appointment of those who represent them in the way the church is run and organised. In the Minster we have just received the latest Quinquennium Report on the building, providing the Church Council with a list of fabric works for the next five years, together with the new priorities from the Church Council residential meeting, looking at the Minster going forward, into the next phase of its life.

Many of these priorities are about responding to the new world or town, in which we are living, in anticipation of many new capital projects in the town coming to fruition in the next few years.

As a result the Minster needs more volunteers as we look to welcome hopefully many more and new visitors to the town, and financially, we need to increase our income, and be more income generating, to make the Minster financially more secure and sustainable for the future.

This will require potentially some new paid posts at the Minster, which will need to be funded and managed – that’s a challenge in its self!

Last week, during Holy Week, I arrived for a service one evening, and noticed a group of hooded young people hanging around the Minster.

By the time it came to leaving, one of them, had impaled himself to the railings, which were then being cut by the Fire brigade, whilst the lad concerned was being given oxygen by paramedics. There were no Police attending the scene. You can imagine my emotions were somewhat mixed.

On the one hand I felt concerned for the lad, equally I was furious that the railings which were restored only a few years ago, and the grounds significantly improved, organised by Calderdale Council, were being abused and vandalised.

Many of the windows around the Minster have also been vandalised, and I’ve been wanting to provide increased protection to them before having them repaired, but Historic England are objecting to the proposals, and a stalemate is in place. The grounds are lovely, and I want the General Public to come and enjoy the environment and make use of them, but equally I don’t want people to trash them!

This gives a platform about how we manage the security and safety of the town. On the one hand Halifax is one of the safest places in England, and statistically crime is pretty low.

However, if you have experienced crime of any kind personally, it doesn’t feel like that and one always has an emotional response.

But if Halifax is to become a tourist destination in the north of England, we need to ensure that when people do come to Halifax they have the very best experience we can give them, and that includes the town being clean and tidy, the best cultural and heritage experience we can provide, and that people feel safe around the streets and when visiting prime sites of interest.

The lack of funding across the Public Sector means that those with statutory responsibilities, have never had such stretched resources before them, and that the only way forward, is for a shared and combined effort by the whole community, and not apportion blame onto others, but to take responsibility for the things we can change, and work with others to try and change the things we can’t change.

Maybe the new Halifax Business Improvement District can provide the space in which this can be discussed, and not used as a political football? Let’s see what might be possible?