Trade chief axed in cuts

keith joplin
keith joplin

Heckmondwike and Cleckheaton town centre manager Keith Joplin is to step down after nearly a decade at the helm.

Mr Joplin’s role has become the latest in a long line of positions to be axed as the council battles to cut costs.

The grandfather of three, who also runs marketing consultancy Joplins from his Birkenshaw home, said he was sad to be leaving the position but was looking forward to spending more time with his family.

“It is the end of an era but the area will carry on with the support of officers from Kirklees,” he said.

“I’ve made a lot of friends and hopefully I have made a difference to people and businesses in the area. I will miss them.”

Mr Joplin has worked with the council to provide many successful events for the people of Spen Valley including Bounce ‘n’ Bump, the Teddy Bears Picnic and he has been instrumental in getting cash for the towns’ Christmas lights.

Coun Andrew Pinnock (Cleck, Lib Dem), said: “I think he has achieved a lot in the last decade. It has been a pleasure to work with him.

“I understand the contract with the council is being finished but there is some degree of uncertainty surrounding who will be the next town centre manager and if we will have one.

“It was extremely helpful to have someone on the spot who could deal with issues and push things forward.

“He has been invaluable and he will be missed.

Chairman of Heckmondwike’s Chamber of Trade David Exley said he was worried Mr Joplin’s role would not be filled: “I understand they are going to offer the role to the Batley and Dewsbury town centre manager, who will then look after Heckmondwike and Cleckheaton but he can’t possibly do all that work,” he said.

“It’s disappointing that they are wanting to put extra work on one person when Batley and Dewsbury are struggling as it is.

“It just means that now all the four towns will suffer and it will be detrimental for everyone.

“Personally, I would like to thank Keith for all the hard work he has done over the years and all the successes.”

President of Cleckheaton’s Chamber of Trade Viv Laycock added: “We thank Keith for all the hard work he did as town centre manager and we wish him all the very best for the future.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Keith Joplin has provided excellent support to Cleckheaton and Heckmondwike and we would like to thank him for his efforts to co-ordinate local businesses, organise events and help maintain the vibrancy of the town centres.”