Saturday, 27 November 2010

The letter The Keighley News didn't publish.....yet

Time to clamp down on Haworth's demise?

I congratulate Ted Evans on having the most successful business in Haworth (The Changegate Car Park). Anyone who can make £75, less wages and expenses of course, by slapping a wheel clamp on a car, within the boundaries of the law, is to be admired, but may I invite him to take a look at the wider implications of what his business is doing to the village, and what he could do to change it?
He is the only local businessman I know of who has been the subject of a TV documentary, and numerous news items.On special days he trots out his old Rolls-Royce and proudly poses with it, and his published books, on the Changegate car park, safe in the knowledge that by the end of the day he will be several hundreds, if not thousands of pounds, richer thanks to his staff's efforts at clamping the poor beggars who came to see us in the first place!
Well done Ted, I'm not being sarcastic, I wish I'd thought of it first!
However, other business people and traders in the village do not have the same income, not for want of trying, and I wonder if, having achieved a surely substantial bank balance from your entrepreneurial acumen, you might like to consider giving something back?
Your notoriety means that some traders post notices in their shops warning unsuspecting visitors about your car park. I perhaps don't blame them, but on the other hand am not uncritical about the way a minority of traders have manipulated the state of the village into what it is today. Devoid of visitors for most of the time and busy only when the same traders choose to put on events to suit themselves and milk the financial rewards.
Mr Evans operates seven days a week, and even on a bad day won't worry too much about where his next drop of profit is coming from. Messages from people who have fallen foul of his legitimate operation are legion, I have had several, and I must say that a drop of compassion might not go amiss sometimes.
I believe he has recently applied to become a member of The Haworth Village Association, which I am not, but his application was not exactly received with enthusiasm. The same association is not without its own critics, justifiably.
Apart from at weekends and on special occasions, usually organised by The Village Asssociation, Haworth is becoming almost as much a cultural and commercial graveyard as the one fronting The Parsonage. This weekend we had the Victorian Christmas markets, organised by the association of course, which have brought much needed trade into the village. I suggest that a regular weekend market would be a tremendous boost to the village, and is much needed. The bottom of Main Street would be an ideal spot for it, and perhaps overseen by a drop of new blood on the commercial and community front. Never mind the obvious bleats which would come from higher up the street, this village needs a shot in the arm, if not somewhere else. There are locals here as well as tourists and I am sure they would welcome the opportunity to be a part of it.
Ted, you're as famous as The Brontes and might even be making as much money! You've earned a handsome income and become almost as famous, or infamous, as them, why not consider putting something back and becoming part of a real effort to revive the village which has given you a good living? A founder member of Haworth Chamber of Trade perhaps? You're not on the bench now so perhaps you have a little spare time.
If you or someone doesn't, you might find yourself clamping the Bradford Council van that comes to turn the lights out when everyone has left.

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