At a public meeting of the Hebden Bridge Business Forum on 12th Feb 2020, shortly after the latest flooding incident, the EA and Calderdale Council addressed the gathering to outline the next steps of the valley’s flood alleviation scheme, which will be in Hebden Bridge. Following the long period of disruption due to the Mytholmroyd scheme, concern was raised that the scheme for Hebden would now add more economic disruption than would be the case, even after another flooding event. Some present were even asking if the scheme should go ahead at all, or at least be postponed whilst further consultation takes place about any real benefits. It was noted that in February, the town centre businesses bounced back much quicker than in 2015. That begged the question, that perhaps individual resilience measures are a more cost effective measure to be investing in going forward?
The HBBF had intended to physically survey its membership in March on this matter but the Covid pandemic halted that initiative. Adding the Covid-19 disruptions to the discussion, the A646 corridor improvement programme, plus the works on the Keighley Road, there were even more concerns from the business leaders that unless there was a review of capital infrastructure activities in the valley, businesses would be facing a prolonged economic disruption with serious consequences for small businesses in particular. There is belief that with the experience of the disruptive Mytholmroyd works, the latest flood and the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, the landscape has changed. The task then for the HBBF was assessing the desire for businesses and residents for postponements, and a moratorium on works, to allow for the concerns to be raised and representations to take place.
HBBF commissioned the UCVR to design an online survey to assess if these concerns were more widespread and to produce a report collating the views local businesses and residents. Please see the results in the PDF by clicking this link.