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Working hard to keep the theme park away
Hundreds of thousands of people visit Saltaire - founded by Sir Titus Salt and home to pictures by artist David Hockney - and the Bronte village of Haworth every year. The influx of tourists brings with it a boost for the local economies but what is being done to balance the interests of residents with those of tourism? Ian Lewis reports
RESIDENTS HAVE complained that attempts to promote the model village of Saltaire have ruined it for those who live there.
Angela Williamson, a residents' representative on the multi-agency Saltaire Project Group - set up last year to promote the village's interests - has said she believes villagers' interests are being ignored in favour of business.
Speaking after the T&A revealed Saltaire is to feature in two more TV programmes, she said tourists and the traffic they created caused problems with parking, pollution and noise.
She said she sometimes feels like a character in a TV series and with visitors often looking through her windows, privacy had been lost.
Other residents have complained of feeling they are "living in a goldfish bowl'' and of traffic problems - but others say tourism brings money into the area and does not cause too much disruption.
Eric Smith, 76, a former residents representative on the project group, has lived in the village most of his life.
He said: "Saltaire was built by a man who lived 100 years before his time and I think it should be promoted." Mr Smith said he believed the interests of residents and tourists were being balanced, adding: "I have no problem with the tourists whatsoever.''
Saltaire Project Group chairman, Councillor Phil Thornton, said although it was very important to the local economy, there was far more to the place than tourism.
He said Saltaire was a vibrant living village in its own right which had attracted big employers such as Pace Microtechnology at Salts Mill - rejuvenated by the late Jonathan Silver - Filtronic, Bradford Health Authority and Shipley College.
He said: "Businesses have recognised it's an exciting place to be and it's clearly got a large industrial base which we hope to maintain - we want to encourage businesses into the village because that can only improve the local economy and community."
He admitted tourism inevitably had an effect on residents and admitted there were difficulties in balancing their interests with Saltaire's attraction as a tourist destination. But he added: "I don't see it as a difficulty we can't address. We recognise there are a variety of issues that need to be addressed and we're working on that as a team, taking a joint approach with representatives from different sectors."
Councillor Thornton said as well as campaigning to win Saltaire World Heritage status and working to move a statue of its founder Sir Titus Salt to the village, the team had responded to villagers' concerns about parking by backing permit-parking schemes, pay and display facilities in the two public car parks and a scheme to alleviate problems caused by coaches dropping off and picking up tourists.
A few miles away in Bronte Country a document has just been launched aimed at securing the future of Haworth - visited by an estimated million people a year - as a working village and stop it becoming a Bronte 'theme park'.
The Vision for Haworth report has been drawn up by Mike Hill, director of the Bronte Parsonage Museum; Graham Mitchell, chairman of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway; Haworth Traders' Association secretary David Robertson-Brown; and Worth Valley Councillor Mike Young.
Mr Hill said: "Tourists have been coming to Haworth for 150 years, since before Charlotte died, and have an established right here.
"The tourism industry is a major employer but we don't want it to become a Bronte theme park and have got to balance the visitors' needs with those of the people who live and work here."
Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.