Town 'must reinvent itself' says former tourism champ

IF Todmorden is to maximise its tourism potential it needs to dramatically reinvent itself, the town's former tourism champion Coun Ian Cooper has said.

He claimed that despite the town possessing a wealth of natural advantages there is much to do to attract visitors.

He said: "Todmorden is ideally placed being on one of the main gateways to Calderdale with good road and rail links. It also has many genuine tourist attractions in its Gothic buildings including Dobroyd Castle, the town hall, its markets and the Unitarian Church.

"And with the canal there is the golden opportunity to develop a retail development and marina on the Halifax Road site – a flood plain – on which Sainsbury's wish to build a supermarket. This would complement shopping facilities in the town centre and not compete against them.

"There is a need to develop tourism in the town because in recent years a lot of jobs have been lost in manufacturing with a tremendous leakage of employment that a sustainable tourism agenda for Todmorden could pick up the slack in employment terms."

Members of Todmorden town council's amenities committee say a lack of hotel accommodation is a potential drawback in promoting the town as a tourist destination.

Councillors also say that if there was more accommodation available, it would encourage businesses to hold events such as conferences in Todmorden, which would boost the town's economy.

Coun Margareta Holmstedt said: "Anyone in a group will find it's incredibly hard to find accommodation for them. We do need more hotel accommodation here.

"There are business opportunities that could be pointed out to people. There are empty properties which could be turned into boutique hotels.

"We won't have conferences here without hotels."

Coun John Rodgers said: "One of the things we are short of in this end of the valley is accommodation.

"We can't conjure hotels out of nothing but can we encourage people to offer bed and breakfast? There may be potential that we are not tapping at the moment."

Coun Hilary Myers said Calderdale Council ought to do more to promote the accommodation available in Todmorden.