Elland Bridge reopening didn't please everyone

February 2017 - Peter Underwood looks at a little local spat over a major piece of reconstruction.

The reopening of Elland Bridge, over the Calder and Hebble Canal, more than a year after the floods that devastated it, has been widely reported in the area.

However one local newspaper, the Halifax Courier reported that: “Angry councillors in Calderdale have hit out over the opening of Elland Bridge saying they were not given any details of the ceremony or when it would be taking place.

Members of the minority party Liberal Democrats complained of not getting invited. Councillor James Baker, leader of Calderdale Liberal Democrats, said that councillors only found out what was happening via the press release.

Despite that, hundreds of other people gathered on the bridge to see Councillor Tim Swift, Calderdale Council’s Leader, and Simon Bamford, director of asset delivery for the Canal & River Trust, declare the bridge open after cutting a ribbon.

Another Lib Dem councillor told the 'paper “I only learned by accident at 11 am this morning that the bridge was to re-open at lunchtime.

“I arrived armed with my camera at 11.30 to be told that it was “all over” and had been opened by a bus-load of dignitaries at 11am.

For once C&RT were not being held to blame – in fact they didn't even put out a press release about the opening - this was very much a spat between political parties in an election year – as local comments on the 'paper's website were quick to point out.

One said “Must be an election year!! They're all out being seen in the community trying to look busy.”

Another commented: “Aw bless em.Does this mean them missing out on expenses and a freebie nosh-up?”

And a third added: “I'm angry that I wasn't invited too. I'm very important and would liked to be treated as such.”

In fact C&RT got a pat on the back by another reader who said: “It was the council that messed around at the start having meeting after meeting before anything was done.

​"We're thankful to the Canal & Rivers Trust, if it was left to the councillors then it would still be in a mess now or a Primark built on it.”

Photo: Elland Bridge last year as contractors lay the foundations for the new canal bridge.

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