Sowerby Bridge’s historic high street is set to be transformed thanks to a funding boost - but what is being planned?
Following a successful bid to the government’s High Streets Heritage Action Zone fund, Sowerby Bridge is to receive a share of £95million to help improve and retain its heritage features.
Work is taking place with Heritage England to finalise the levels of funding and the full programme design, but the money will be used to preserve and celebrate the distinctive character of the town, with a number of improvement options proposed as part of ongoing work to create a Sowerby Bridge masterplan.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Resources, Councillor Jane Scullion, said: “Sowerby Bridge is a thriving town that has a distinctive character with many heritage features.
"I’m delighted that we have been successful in securing funding from the High Street Heritage Action Zone fund which will be used to preserve the historic centre for future generations.
“This work will complement the ongoing development of the Sowerby Bridge masterplan which aims to deliver a full programme of improvements in the town.
"As well as making the most of the town’s many heritage elements, this will include changes to the transport network, more green space areas and initiatives to reduce the potential for flooding.”
The masterplan is being produced with the community-led Sowerby Bridge Town Development Board and following a preliminary consultation in 2018 is now being developed to a detailed design stage.
Aspects of the masterplan which could benefit from the High Streets Heritage Action Zone funding include planned improvements to the Fire and Water community hub on Hollins Mill Lane. Formerly the Sowerby Bridge fire station, swimming pool and council offices, the building would benefit from a new roof and windows as well as improvements to the nearby public areas.
Improvements are also planned around the Tuel Lane lock canal towpath with additional plans for a new market square around the lock’s car park.
To complement the Council’s continued commitment to tackling the climate emergency, there are also plans to introduce a Sunday Street in the town, restricting car access to Hollins Mill Lane on Sundays to encourage walking and cycling on this popular route.
Further engagement on the Sowerby Bridge masterplan with residents and businesses will begin later this year before final proposals are discussed by Calderdale Council’s Cabinet.