A new community heritage group with bold ambitions for the regeneration of Queensbury is to hold its first public meeting next month in a bid to start pushing its plans forward.
Queensbury Community Heritage and Action Partnership (Q CHAP) has a three-pronged vision which would see it take part of the Black Dyke Mills complex for community use, with the Victorian Queensbury railway tunnel re-instated as a pedestrian and cycle route with the regeneration of Station Road to link the two.
The group, made up of many smaller local organisations, believes that combination would provide a linked package which would bring visitors in and help with the regeneration of the area.
Its first challenge is to find the money to open a heritage centre at the mills, and the owner has already made space available, though it needs significant investment in the fabric of the building.
It is hoped a Heritage Lottery grant may be available and a bid is being drawn up to try to secure money, though it is thought several hundred thousand pounds will be needed to make the centre serviceable.
Queensbury tunnel was a feat of Victorian engineering, but is currently out of use and bricked up. The Highways Agency, which has responsibility for its maintenance, will be conducting an engineering survey to assess is condition this summer.
Q CHAP spokeswoman Nora McWilliam said it was already known there was flooding in part of the tunnel and it was expected that would be cleared by pump.
However, the group is working to get an assurance that any work to maintain the structure of the tunnel would not affect their ambition to keep it open for cyclists and pedestrians.
If that happens, it will be the longest underground cycle route in Europe and will link Bradford with Halifax. The scheme is supported by Sustrans, the organisation which promotes sustainable transport options.
The two are linked by Station Road, which is currently pot-holed, but if revitalised would provide impressive country views and form a logical connection, with Q CHAP aiming to get an electronic buggy installed for those who cannot tackle the hill on foot.
Nora McWilliam added: “Station Road is not just an incidental, but an important part of the whole project.”
The meeting takes place on Thursday, May 15, from 7pm at Holy Trinity Church in High Street.