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Community praised for improving village - but 'work still to be done'
Buy this photo » Bronte Parsonage executive director Ann Sumner (left) Bronte Spirit chairman Averil Kenyon and Trevor Mitchell of English Heritage take a look at a leaflet produced as one of the measures taken to improve Haworth
Haworth’s community has been praised for turning the village around and getting it off a list of “at risk” historical sites.
There was shock in 2010 when English Heritage announced Haworth was on the list because modern additions and poor maintenance were “eroding” its character.
Modern signs on 19th-century buildings, streets cluttered with advertising boards and a lack of care for historical buildings were cited as reasons for the village’s decline.
The organisation today revealed that efforts to improve the hometown of the Brontes had been successful, removing the “at risk” label in time for next summer’s Tour De France, which will pass through the village.
But a spokesman for English Heritage said there was still plenty of work to be done before Haworth was at its best.
Programmes that helped remove the village from the list include works to improve the Bronte schoolroom, a £622,887 programme to re-lay setts on Main Street, and returning several buildings to their original state.
The work has been carried out with help from organisations including English Heritage, Bradford Council and Haworth Parish Council.
The Council today announced they will review the Haworth Conservation Area, involving the community to develop a strategy to make sure the village never slides back on to the “at risk” list.
Haworth Parish Council vice-chairman Peter Hill said: “The fact that we’re not on the list any more is a move in the right direction towards Haworth being recognised as an iconic place to visit.
“And it’s important it’s understood that for Haworth to remain one of the leading tourist attractions in the north of England it must not suffer from over-development.”
Councillor Val Slater, executive member for planning at Bradford Council, said: “Haworth is one of Bradford’s gems and the local community is rightly very proud of it.
“We made a big investment in new setts to help improve the condition of the village and we are committed to working with local people to review the Conservation Area and to ensure people understand how they can play their part in keeping Haworth unique.”
Averil Kenyon, a member of Bronte Spirit, who worked to improve the Bronte Schoolroom, said: “Haworth does seem improved, but I think the schoolroom is still vulnerable.”
Bronte Society chairman Sally McDonald said: “That Haworth is to be taken off the at risk register is a credit to what has been achieved by English Heritage, everyone in the village and Bradford Council in recent years.”
Trevor Mitchell, regional director for planning at English Heritage visited Haworth in August, when he pleaded with businesses and local organisations to keep up the good work. After the announcement he said: “The turnaround was very quick, and I think that was because of the very active local community.
“Putting Haworth on the register was a necessary thing to do, at the time it looked like it was getting worse. Now it looks like it is getting better, and we’re optimistic it will keep getting better.
“It is good news the council have announced they will carry out a new conservation area appraisal, that will help decide what still needs to be done. We certainly think advertising signs is a big issue that needs dealing with.”