Anniversary of town’s jewel

REAL SMOOTHIE. The liquidiser bike which was one of the attractions at the Savoy Square 10th anniversary celebrations.
REAL SMOOTHIE. The liquidiser bike which was one of the attractions at the Savoy Square 10th anniversary celebrations.

Cleckheaton was a hive of activity on Saturday for the 10th anniversary celebrations of Savoy Square.

A decade ago, the land opposite the town hall was a derelict eyesore, but it has since become a jewel in the town’s crown, the focal point for public events such as the Folk Festival and Christmas lights festivities.

Thieving Magpies dance group at the Savoy Square 10th anniversary celebrations.

Thieving Magpies dance group at the Savoy Square 10th anniversary celebrations.

The land was originally the site of the Savoy cinema, but after it was demolished, hoardings were placed round the huge hole in the middle of the town, and it was left. In 2002 Spen Valley Civic Society secured planning permission to transform it into a public square and after a year’s planning and hard graft it was transformed.

At the weekend visitors watched folk dancers, followed the Family Film Trail around the shops, had faces painted, bought raffle and tombola tickets, and found out information about Cleckheaton resources.

These included new community facilities at St John’s church, walking and cycling around the town and musical treats during Cleckheaton’s Folk Festival in July. Children and adults, including MP Mike Wood and Coun Andrew Pinnock, had fun pedalling Sustrans’ Liquidizer Bike to create strawberry and banana smoothies.

The Civic Society displayed photos of its work on Savoy Square and other projects, and asked visitors to give their views on how the derelict land next to Cleckheaton town centre should be used, following Tesco’s decision not to build a new superstore.

Civic Society secretary Erica Amende said: “Over the coming months, we will be working with Spenborough Chamber of Trade, Totally Locally and Kirklees senior managers to bring about an end to the dereliction and find positive uses for the land.

“If you want your views to be taken into account, visit Matthew’s Coffee House, or Viv’s Café in the indoor market, or Blend Café Bar in Cleckheaton, and fill in the Civic Society’s short survey form.”