Call for funding support in Calderdale areas missing out on large pots of money

View of Sowerby BridgeView of Sowerby Bridge
View of Sowerby Bridge
Funding must be sought to support parts of Calderdale which have not been on the receiving end of large pots of money, says a senior councillor.

Coun Adam Wilkinson (Lab, Sowerby Bridge) echoed Cabinet colleagues in welcoming Towns Fund money which has been awarded by the Government most recently to Todmorden and to Brighouse earlier in the year.

But he said other areas had not received similar help and implied criticism of the Government saying the £17.5 million award to Todmorden and £19.1 million award to Brighouse were both to places in a constituency with a Conservative MP – Calder Valley’s Craig Whittaker.

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Because they were not ‘towns’ they were not able to access these pots of funding, said Coun Wilkinson, who is Cabinet member for Children and Young People’s Services.

“There’s an awful lot of other towns and areas across the borough that are just not receiving anything like that level of funding – and you know there’s been speculation in the press as to why it is that towns like Todmorden and Brighouse that have an MP of one particular party are receiving these sums of money and towns like my own ward, Sowerby Bridge, are not receiving anything like that level of funding.

“We’ve had a couple of million pounds from Heritage England, which is of course welcome, but nothing like the ten times that amount of money that other towns in the borough seem to be receiving.

“There are also other areas of the borough like North Halifax that we keep mentioning but because they are not in ‘towns’ as such they are just not even able to access these pots of money and are very much in need of regeneration and development.

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“So while we’re not going to turn this money down – it’s very welcome – we have to realise there’s other areas in need in the borough as well,” he said.

Leader of the Council, Coun Tim Swift (Lab, Town) said Calderdale had done well out of these funds but agreed there was more the council wanted to do and there were areas outside of, or on the edge of, towns that had long-standing problems which needed addressing.

“I hope that when we see the (Government’s) spending review in the autumn we might get more details about the Shared Prosperity Fund and perhaps that will give us the opportunity to bid for some of the other priority areas,” he said.