Bingley Town Council is investing in the town centre with a programme to smarten up the streets.

The plan, agreed at the Town Council’s meeting (23 June 2020), will see all the lamp-posts, railings and signposts in the town’s conservation area and in adjacent streets painted black, similar to town centres and heritage areas in other parts of Bradford District.

The street furniture painting project, originally put forward by a resident, has taken three years to negotiate with Bradford Council and will involve an investment of £23,873. Bradford Council has insisted that its approved contractor is used to carry out the painting. It has also stipulated that it provides safety and traffic management during the painting process and these charges are part of the overall cost.

Cllr Helen Owen, Chair of Bingley Town Council, said: “It’s clear that Bingley has to take the lead on improvements to our town as Bradford Council doesn’t have the funds. This is a significant investment in our town which thoroughly deserves care and attention. Smartening up the street furniture will make Bingley a more attractive and welcoming place and encourage residents and visitors to use and enjoy our facilities, amenities and businesses. This is now more important than ever as we emerge from the pandemic.”

At the meeting on Tuesday, councillors heard that Bingley’s street furniture has not been painted for nearly 15 years and much of it is now looking scruffy and rusty. The Town Council also carried out three separate consultations to establish if residents prefer black or the existing cobalt blue colour. The overwhelming majority opted for black.

The street furniture painting initiative, which will be carried out later this year, is one of a number of other investments by the Town Council in Bingley and surrounding villages since it was established in 2016. These include provision of hanging baskets and floral displays, new grit bins and litter bins. Work is also underway to re-provide public toilets in the town centre (closed by Bradford Council) and it’s hoped they’ll open later this year. Subject to meeting social distancing and other Covid-19 related safety guidelines, the Town Council is also working to run monthly Farmers Market once again and to provide free “play in the park” events for children across the parish this summer. This is a task it’s undertaken for the past two years since Bradford Council was no longer able to cover the costs.

Cllr Edwina Simpson, Chair of the Town Council’s Finance and General Purposes committee, said: “The Town Council works hard to give value for money as well as working closely with residents and local organisations. The council welcomes suggestions and ideas from councillors, members of the community and local organisations about ways to improve Bingley parish and costed plans for initiatives.”

The Town Council’s grants scheme has funded a range of community organisations with £59,918 over the past 4 years including a grant of nearly £6,000 to the Friends of Bingley Pool to enable a feasibility study and electrical survey of the pool. This has helped support the Community Asset Transfer of the pool from Bradford Council to the Friends of Bingley Pool. The Town Council has earmarked £12,000 to enable a Changing Places facility, a toilet for those with complex disabilities, to be installed in the pool building and is in regular contact with FOBP to support its efforts as the CAT continues.

As well as the grants scheme, as Bingley has a Town Council, the parish now has access to money raised through the CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy), a charge raised on development. Bingley receives 15% of CIL which currently amounts to £19,267. Guided by residents’ wishes, the Town Council is hoping to use this funding on Bingley Pool, parks and green spaces, and initiatives to combat climate change. Groups will need to apply for grants to receive this funding, the spending of which is governed by Government legislation.

The Town Council is also working on a Neighbourhood Plan to influence what type of development happens in the parish and where. Subject to a public consultation, if the plan is in place, Bingley parish will then receive 25% of any CIL. The Town Council successfully bid for funding and support worth £7,350 to assist with the development of the plan.

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