When I moved to Haworth six years ago I decided to brand my business around the Bronte name and heritage as many before me have done.
I founded Bronte Radio www.bronteradio.com and have recently been encouraged by Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council to further develop it as a community station, something I think will be an asset in this rural and widespread area. I have been encouraged by many but have also found a core of people whose interests are far more selfish than community and who object to someone they see as an outsider attempting to become involved on "their patch".
At the end of last year I formulated a project to give a village wide public address, information and entertainment on July 5th and 6th this year for the occasion of Le Tour de France visiting Haworth and Oxenhope. I met Bradford Council officials, agreed completely to work with them and make the service fit in with the corporate image of the occasion as demanded by Le Tour officials.
The parish council kindly sponsored me to pursue the project and I costed and schemed it to the last penny piece. Bradford Council even intimated last December that they would fund it if necessary. Heartening indeed. It was also planned to live stream the entire two days on Bronte Radio for the benefit of visitors. That will not now be happening.
Then the wheels came off. The project details were put forward as part of the village's application for hub status for Le Tour, a hub which has now been granted for Central Park. My project also included costing for a big screen to enable visitors to view the event, but with the granting of the hub came a free big screen from Le Tour grandees. Then I was told that the proposed commentary point, planned for the new bandstand, and supposed to be blended in with entertainment from local people, would be "in the way" of the entertainment so we were to be shoved up by the toilets where there was a spare plug. Isn't it nice to feel wanted? This indeed from a councillor on the same parish council which had sponsored Bronte Media to undertake the project and who is now described by some as our "Tour de France specialist". Bah.
Then came the crunch from the very Bradford Council official who was said to be "picking up funding", Mr Phil Barker. Oh you can't do it because only Le Tour can commentate on the Tour.
Six months wasted. Never said we were going to "commentate" on Le Tour, but that we would give a professional PA system for information, entertainment and to assist emergency services. A "copycat" plan which had been hatched in Keighley has been similarly grounded, Petty minded, politically motivated empire builders have deprived both communities of something which should have been vital to the smooth running of many hours when thousands of people will be in our towns and villages.
We had to fight to have our £21 temporary licence application refunded by Bradford Council who have done a completely unexpected U-turn from their original promises. Even a private sponsor who approached us to finance the scheme if the council did not has now disappeared. Wonder who had a word with them?
However, we are please and proud to announce that we will be doing the PA and commentary for the Oxenhope Millennium Green Fete on June 28th. Children's races, sideshows and a duck race down the beck. That is of course unless the powers that be decide that only ducks can do commentary on such an event and we are contravening the licensing laws by depriving a major broadcaster of revenue from the event.
If that occurs they can duck off. Bronte Radio lives on, "Vive la Farce".