Hundreds sign petition against Elland 'madness' that cinema boss says threatens The Rex

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Hundreds of people are backing a call for a rethink on Elland town centre plans which traders say jeopardise businesses.

The aim of Calderdale Council’s regeneration project – funded by a £6m grant from the Government – is to revitalise the town centre and boost visitor numbers.

Traders approve of the most of the changes planned but say the proposed loss of the car park at the bottom of Coronation Street would be a huge blow.

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The council says it wants to “repurpose” the car park to “create a vibrant, exciting event space and a green area, benefitting visitors and nearby residents”.

David Jackson at BAC Outdoor Leisure, Elland, with one of the petitions in shops across EllandDavid Jackson at BAC Outdoor Leisure, Elland, with one of the petitions in shops across Elland
David Jackson at BAC Outdoor Leisure, Elland, with one of the petitions in shops across Elland

But owner of popular cinema The Rex Charles Morris says if the car park goes, so might the historic cinema.

Petitions have been circulated at businesses around the town centre which have attracted hundreds of signatures asking the council to change its plans.

Mr Morris said: “I agree that it would be nice if the centre of Elland could be improved in some way but I am fiercely against the removal of the Coronation Street car park.

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"Calderdale seem hell bent on removing it but they have been somewhat vague as to what it will become, and they are taking no notice of the objections from ourselves and the other local businesses who depend on it.

Coronation Street Car Park, EllandCoronation Street Car Park, Elland
Coronation Street Car Park, Elland

"Why must they have that space? There is already the area opposite, in front of the flats, which could be made quite attractive if some money was spent on it.

"There is the area where the swimming baths used to be, which apparently they are making into another sitting out area, and there are the Boxhall Fields, just behind The Rex - a big area which could be modified to their purpose, whatever that is.

"How many sitting-out spaces does Elland need, and who for ?

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Planning permission has to be obtained for conversion of the car park and we will be opposing it. We have already collected several hundred signatures from our patrons, most of whom come from outside the area and depend on being able to park when they get here.

"The addresses are from all areas of Halifax and Huddersfield, Brighouse, Bradford and there are even some Wakefield postcodes on the list.

"We have brought hundreds of thousands of visitors into Elland over the years, to the benefit not just of ourselves but the local pubs and cafes too.

"It would be madness to destroy the Rex through this scheme."

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David Jackson, who owns BAC Outdoor Leisure on Coronation Street, said: “Everyone who has come into our shop has signed it.

“We haven’t found anyone who has said it is a good idea. It’s going to be counterproductive.”

As reported by the Courier earlier today (Wednesday), Calderdale Council has announced that planning applications for part of the project – including changing the car park on Coronation Street – are due to be submitted in the coming months.

The project also includes pedestrianising Southgate, spending £1m on the Market Square and refurbishing The Cartwheel Club.