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Town manager Bob Parker tells of his vision
Bingley’s new town centre manager has spoken of his desire to revitalise the town to make it a more appealing place for people to visit and spend time.
Four weeks into his new job and Bob Parker has pinpointed the issues that are crucial to Bingley’s future success, including ongoing work to find a sustainable future for the market, the progress of a long-awaited supermarket development and the need to make the most of the town’s “wonderful independent shops”.
Mr Parker believes the area has lots to offer, but is in need of revitalising.
“Another year down the line and Bingley will be a place people want to come and spend time,” said Mr Parker, who has 16 years’ experience of town centre management.
The post, which involves working with local businesses, organising events, promoting the town and helping to keep it clean, safe and accessible, had been empty since May 2011 when David Dinsey retired.
Mr Parker, who lives in Nab Wood, said: “Bingley has a very good catchment area and we want to get those people back shopping in the area as a first choice as opposed to going off to Leeds.
“There’s a lot going for the town centre. We’ve got some absolutely wonderful independent shops. It’s well worth a visit for gifts or shoes or ladies’ clothing.”
But Mr Parker said waiting to hear if Sainsbury’s will move to the town was a concern.
The supermarket giant owns the former Bradford and Bingley headquarters in the town centre, which has been empty since 2009, and is due to announce if it will develop the site this year.
Mr Parker, 59, said that could have a “huge impact” on the town.
Another key issue for Mr Parker is the future of the town’s market which runs three times a week, but did not open one day last month during poor weather.
He said the market had a future though and was talking to Bradford Council about it.
“That has been quite positive. We’re looking to find a sustainable solution to increase the market stores in Bingley, it’s just about how we move forward,” he added.
Mr Parker also hopes to take advantage of the town’s rural location and get a farmers’ market established.
He said it was also important for traders to benefit from established events, such as Bingley Show and Bingley Music Live, as well as developing new ones.
Mr Parker splits his week between Bingley and his City Centre Operations Manager role in Bradford, where he also has responsibility for City park. From April he will take semi-retirement and just work in Bingley.