Heckmondwike looks to the future

WHAT NEXT? Parliamentary candidate Jo Cox and business alliance head Simon Thirkill.

WHAT NEXT? Parliamentary candidate Jo Cox and business alliance head Simon Thirkill.

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More than 50 Heckmondwike residents gathered with business and political leaders to talk about the town’s future.

Business Alliance head Simon Thirkill, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox, Kirklees Council leader David Sheard (Heckmondwike), Crown of Lights orgainser Donal O’Driscoll and other key players brainstormed about how to make the most of Heckmondwike.

Mr Thirkill said: “It was a big melting pot of ideas.

“And there was a great representation from local mosques.

“We talked about having a notice board in town to keep people better informed of what different groups are doing.

“As silly as it sounds it would help more people know what’s going on. We rely so heavily on Facebook and Twitter and a lot of people don’t have them so maybe we should try it the old way.”

On the back of the success of big events like Crown of Lights festival in the summer and last weekend’s Christmas lights switch-on Mr Thirkill said the town’s future was looking bright.

“In 2013 I said ‘this is Heckmondwike’s year’, 2014 was even better and 2015 should be better still,” he said.

Mrs Cox said: “Everyone who came has a stake in Heckmondwike and a strong interest in seeing the town thriving. It was a very productive meeting and there were some great ideas put forward.

“It was wonderful to see such a broad cross section of the town’s community and commercial sides. There are many indicators that suggest Heckmondwike is growing and improving in its viability and vitality. We want to take advantage of this for the benefit of local people and local businesses.

“We began with an excellent presentation by Spen Valley Historical Society, outlining the history and development of Heckmondwike and providing us with a context for what we want to do.

“The market in particular was seen as a crucial part of Heckmondwike’s past and something upon which its future could be centred.”

The group will make further plans in the new year.