Horbury is looking to cash in on its “amazing history” with a raft of improvements to the town centre thanks to a £50,000 grant.
Brand new benches and CCTV have already been installed and there are future plans to upgrade the town’s war memorial, amongst other proposals.
The changes, made possible thanks to Wakefield Council’s Capital Grants Programme, will help drive more people into the town according to ward councillor Darren Byford.
He and fellow councillors have been working with Horbury Village Partnership, a local community group, to decide what improvements are needed.
Coun Byford (Lab, Horbury and South Ossett) said: “We want to try and make Horbury town centre a destination place.
“It’s a proper village and has a nice village feel about it, even though it’s a town.
“We feel that it has so much going for it and it could become somewhere like Hebden Bridge.
“There’s an amazing amount of local history in Horbury.
“Councillors got together with local community groups and asked ‘what can we do in the short-term to make the place special?’ with this grant.
“The first step was to improve the fencing around the children’s area at Carr Lodge Park.
“We want to make it an attractive place to visit.
“We also had some flowerbeds done and also had two new benches installed.
“Each bench features the River Calder and the name of Horbury.”
Coun Byford says that the CCTV installation, coupled with cameras already in place, means that most of the Queen Street and High Street area is now covered.
He says that the positive impact has already been felt by local traders.
“The CCTV installed by Horbury Village Partnership has really lifted the place,” he said.
“If any incidents need dealing with they then put images forward to the police.
“Thankfully, since it’s been in, we’ve only had to do that once.
“It does make a difference and it’s actually been used by traders and retailers as a selling point.”
The grant is handed out over two years and there are a number of further changes that are being mooted.
Coun Byford says that there are also plans in the pipeline to convert an old telephone box into a homage to the town’s history as well as improve the town’s war memorial.
He added: “The old red telephone box on Queen Street is a potential project.
“We’re looking at refurbishing it and make it into some sort of tribute to the town’s past.
“Also, the war memorial could possibly be trebled in size which would make it much more impressive.
“All these things are being done to try and improve the centre and bring people into our town.
“More things that make our town attractive will help bring people in and ensure more money is spent here.”
For more information on how to get involved with schemes, visit horburyvillage.com.