Hecky’s on the up in 2014

Christine Middleton predicts a bright future for our town centres.
Christine Middleton predicts a bright future for our town centres.

Heckmondwike traders say things are on the up in the town – and folk can look forward to a year packed full of activities.

Simon Thirkill, chairman of Heckmondwike Business Alliance and owner of Blue Moon Cafe in Westgate, said shop owners had reported a successful trading period over Christmas, and 2014 was looking positive.

He said: “I think we achieved most of what we wanted to in 2013. I had concerns we might have lost a few shops but it’s held its own and shop occupancy is up.

“We have got a new sweet shop open in town. It looks really nice and fits in with the way Heckmondwike is going with the craft shop, the vintage shop and the cake maker’s shop.

“We need more independent traders and niche businesses.

“This year we’ve got a funding application in for a local history day and we’re planning a pumpkin festival. The ghost walk and play are coming back this year and we have lots planned.

“We’ve put a committee together for the Christmas lights and hopefully we will spend the next 12 months fundraising and putting an historical angle on the lights.

“They were the first in the country and people should be proud of them. Hopefully over the next five years we can improve them. I’d like to see a Christmas market in town alongside the lights.

“The priority is to encourage footfall into Heckmondwike.”

Christine Middleton is one of the new wave of businesspeople to revitalise Heckmondwike’s high-street. She has just moved her business, Sweet Memories, to Heckmondwike from Halifax’s historic Piece Hall.

She said: “I am a big believer in shopping locally.

“I opened at the beginning of January, and the first week was much better than I had expected.

“I really think things are slowly turning around for small town centres like ours. With the recession, a lot of people are getting redundancy money, and might want to think about investing it in a new business of their own.”

See next Friday’s Spenborough Guardian for our look at Cleckheaton’s high street hopes for 2014.