New challenge for Michael

MIRFIELD town councillor Michael Hutchinson has taken over as chairman of Mirfield Regeneration – the new name for Eastthorpe Initiative, writes Samantha Porter.

At Eastthorpe Initiative’s annual meeting retiring chairman and vicar of Mirfield the Rev Peter Craig-Wild said the organisation needed a new name.

He said: “In the 10 years since the formation of Eastthorpe Initiative a lot of work has been done, mainly round St Paul’s Church and Eastthorpe Visual Arts, which is now West Yorkshire Print Workshop.

“But 2004 was a year of radical re-appraisal for Eastthorpe Initiative. We asked the basic question ‘why do we exist’ and even more radically ‘should we exist at all, or should we fold.’

“We had two open meetings in September and October last year and both meetings encouraged the continuation of Eastthorpe Initiative in some form but it was thought it would be beneficial for us to start looking at the whole of the town centre. It was also felt that we needed a name change.”

It was decided that Eastthorpe Initiative would change its name to Mirfield Regeneration.

Mr Craig-Wild said a public exhibition would be held in Mirfield so people could express their own ideas about how they want Mirfield to develop in the future and how Mirfield Regeneration could help.

It was agreed that Coun Hutchinson, who represents the Battyeford ward on Mirfield town council, would take over as chairman, and he said he was keen to work with developers who have plans for the town centre and its surrounding areas.

He said: “As many of you know, I have a political background and I hope that might be of some value to this group and to the wider community of Mirfield. But as far as the operation of the group is concerned I would want to see it operate on a non-party political basis.

“People come here and bring different experiences with them. I want them to make a contribution and for their contribution to be considered.”

Coun Hutchinson also said he wanted to try and apply for more funding for the organisation.

Hugh Bowden, who has been secretary of Eastthorpe Initiative for 10 years, stood down and Kath Crossley, who has taken the minutes for meetings, took his place. Mr Bowden will remain a member on the committee.

Both Mirfield chemical firm Mitchell Cotts and Stephen Battye, who is working with Richard Binks to develop Ledgard Bridge Mills, offered to help Mirfield Regeneration with its administration work.