Community groups pull together to improve Mirfield waterways

BRIGHT IDEAS: Hilary Brooke, Alan Speight and Diana Brown from Mirfield Community Partnership. (D535D310)
BRIGHT IDEAS: Hilary Brooke, Alan Speight and Diana Brown from Mirfield Community Partnership. (D535D310)

Community groups are pulling together to improve walkways and towpaths around local waterways.

A meeting was held on Tuesday to talk about how to make Mirfield’s river and canal banks safer, tidier and more accessible.

It was organised by Mirfield Community Partnership with the aim of creating a walking route from Cooper Bridge at the border with Huddersfield and Calder Bridge in Ravensthorpe.

Local resident Diana Brown, who works for environmental charity Groundwork, said: “The main aim is to create a through-route by the waterways that’s clean and safe for all-round use and has regard for all users.

“We are right at the starting point of this process.”

During the meeting at St Paul’s Church, staff from the Canal and River Trust spoke about how they can help with funding applications and volunteers.

Becca Dent pointed to a project in Bingley where walkers follow a route marked out by mobile phone QR codes as an example of what can be done.

Les Moss, founder of the Safe Anchor Trust, said his volunteers could help on projects during the winter months when they are not running boat trips.

He added: “We need to make some initiative to link with the young people. They are the same ones going canoeing, they are the same ones going to Duke of Edinburgh at Shepley Bridge. This needn’t be an aging issue.”

Members of the South Pennine Boat Club, Calder Navigation Society and Mirfield Rotary Club also showed a willingness to back the project.

Possible short term schemes could include litter picks, improving waterway access for disabled people and providing bins for dog mess.

Mirfield mayor and community partnership chairman Coun David Pinder said: “The person I’d like to find is not the person who lets their dogs poo on the ground, but it’s the man or woman who thinks it is somehow nice to put their dog poo in a bag and hang it in the trees.”

After the meeting, Alan Speight from Mirfield Community Partnership said: “Some of it will be fairly quick wins but some of it will be structural work that needs funding applications to be submitted.”

The next step will be a survey to find out what locals think the priorities for improving the waterways should be.

If you want to get involved or have suggestions, email aspeight@mirfield.org.uk or call Alan Speight on 01924 481901.