Visitors to Brighouse will be encouraged to spend longer and spend more by creating a more welcoming, attractive and healthy town centre as part of the planned £19 million investment through The Brighouse Deal.
Alongside the Market Revitalisation project, outlined at an Open Day in May, the business cases being developed include proposals to:
- improve the welcome at entrances to the town centre,
- encourage the use of walking, cycling and public transport to access the town centre, and
- create an attractive, safe environment that supports shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and attractions in the town centre to bring in more people, engage them for longer, and encourage them to spend more.
The ‘Brighouse Welcome’ and ‘Brighouse Retail & Leisure’ projects ensure the focus in the town centre is on people rather than vehicles – balancing the need to be able to park easily with the need to decrease traffic levels, improve the air quality and provide a safe environment where pedestrians have priority so they can shop, visit and enjoy Brighouse.
Proposals have been subject to extensive consultation, discussions and research and include pedestrianising the central sections of Commercial Street and Bethel Street between Market Street and Park Street.
This would create an eastern zone for vehicles – entering on Bethel Street and exiting on Lawson Road, and a western zone – entering on Commercial Street and exiting on Briggate, ensuring continued access but stopping the town centre being used as a rat-run for through traffic.
Vehicles would continue to be able to drop-off and pick-up, accessible disabled parking would be provided, and deliveries would continue to be possible with designated loading bays, but the focus on people aims to make the town centre much more attractive for shoppers and visitors.
Wide footways, street planting and seating will be provided, and the look of the roads would be made more attractive and pedestrian-focused through the use of stone and granite rather than just tarmac.
Cllr Sophie Whittaker, Co-Chair of the Brighouse Town Deal Board, said:
“We have listened to businesses and residents as these plans have been put together because we know that being able to park in the town centre is important to shop owners and shoppers alike.
“As community representatives, we have worked with the Council to understand how much parking there is, how much it is used, how much it costs and how long spaces can be occupied for. This is helping to inform and shape The Brighouse Deal plans for developing our public realm.
“We want to make Brighouse an even more pleasant place to shop, visit and enjoy while also ensuring it is a place where businesses, shops and venues can continue to thrive and be successful. By working together, we are confident we can achieve that.”
Given the concerns at the reduction in on-street parking, the plans include measures to address this and mitigate the impact. These include improved signing and focus on off-street car parks within and just outside Brighouse town centre.
Collectively, there are over 400 spaces in council-owned car parks and hundreds more in privately-owned car parks, but surveys show these are often not used because they can be hard to find, there is no indication of where spaces are available, and the routes between them and town centre shops, businesses and attractions are unclear and unattractive.
Investment in changing this to make them more accessible and gateways to the town centre will be key to The Brighouse Deal, as will ensuring it is easier and safer to arrive in the town by other modes of transport with more cycle parking, clearer access to and from the bus and railway stations, and improving walking routes to encourage greener, more sustainable options.
Lesley Adams, Co-Chair of the Brighouse Business Improvement District and owner of Simply Flowers on Commercial Street, said:
“As a small business owner reliant on people visiting my shop, and me being able to easily visit them, I know how important parking and access to the town centre is and the independent retailers and businesses that are the lifeblood of Brighouse.
“But, I also know that, as we see every time there is an event or market in Brighouse, the potential for making the streets much more friendly for visitors is huge – safer those on foot, and healthier with less pollution.
“The introduction of the parklets on Commercial Street and by the canal was not universally popular, but they are being well-used as a place to stop and meet, and it has confirmed for me that by making Brighouse town centre more friendly for visitors, most of those who currently visit will still do so, and the potential for even more to visit, shop and spend time and money is huge.”
Cllr Sarah Courtney, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Towns, Engagement and Public Health, said:
“The Town Deal is all about revitalising Brighouse and building on its success as a vibrant market town with kind and resilient people. The proposed improvements to the town centre would not only make it an even more welcoming place and boost local business; they would also have an impact on people’s lives by helping them to be active and to breathe in cleaner air, and make it easier for people with disabilities to move around the town. This contributes to the Council’s priorities to tackle the climate emergency and improve health and wellbeing, as well as supporting strong and resilient towns.
“All the Town Deal proposals are based on extensive engagement, and we are continuing to listen to local people to develop plans that help to keep Brighouse thriving.”
About The Brighouse Deal:
In September 2019, the Government announced a £3.6bn Towns Fund to support 101 Town Deals across England. Brighouse was one of those successful at bidding for investment, receiving £19.1million for projects over the next four years.
The Brighouse Deal is co-ordinated by The Brighouse Town Deal Board, a group of individuals made up of representatives from the community and business with a distinct aim, to deliver the Town Deal approved by the Government. The Board works with Calderdale Council, Brighouse BID, Visit Brighouse and many other organisations across the town and beyond.