Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman has thrown down to the gauntlet to BBC presenter Liz Green after she made withering comments about the town on her radio show.
The Radio Leeds journalist bemoaned the state of Huddersfield town centre saying it was “not the town it was” and needed to get its act together fast.
Her comments came following the publication of a Kirklees Council report saying more needed to be done to create a more diversified, thriving night-time economy.
A recurring theme on the early morning programme was the feeling that Huddersfield town centre was not a safe place to visit and there was not a lot going on.
One of the show’s reporters said the loudest noise he heard in the town on a Tuesday night was two dogs fighting.
And self-proclaimed crime expert Jonathan Hoyle said people didn’t “want to walk around all the mess” the night after Huddersfield’s finest had been out and about on Cross Church Street, one of the town’s rowdiest streets on a weekend.
He said: “People who go out for the complete wrong reason. People who want to fight for a hobby.”
A woman called Sarah Bowyer also slammed the town.
She said she recently went to the Town Hall and “I would not have felt safe walking through Huddersfield.”
And Liz, who boasted of being Huddersfield-born and bred, said: “What’s wrong with Huddersfield? Does Huddersfield disappoint you? Would I walk down Kingsgate at 8pm on a Wednesday night?”
Discussing the matter with town centre regeneration boss, Clr Peter McBride, she said: “It’s not a welcoming environment anymore. Not somewhere I would class as vibrant.”
She said a friend described it recently as ‘Shuddersfield’.
But Mr Sheerman who has been the town’s MP since 1979 said: “I have known Liz a long time and I am very fond of her but I reject what she is saying.
“What she says could be said about lots of towns and cities from Peterborough and Cambridge to Oxford and parts of London.
“What she is describing is not the true essence of our town.
“Do your homework, Liz, go and see Kirklees’s Chief Supt Steve Cotter.
"I can assure you there are many more crime-ridden places than Huddersfield.
“At the moment I am dealing with two students who were mugged in their first weeks at Leeds and Manchester and that’s not something you tend to find happening here.
“As for the argument that some of the best cuisine is found out of the town centre in places such as Honley, Lindley and Hepworth etc that may be true but that is a feature of many towns not just Huddersfield.
“Those restaurant owners decided to place themselves in the surrounding areas.
"Come on Liz, walk round the town with me and I will persuade you that I am right.”