AN Almondbury councillor is pushing for better access to one of Huddersfield’s major landmarks.
Clr Ann Denham wants the council to review its arrangements for opening the Jubilee Tower at Castle Hill after visitors arrived to find the doors locked on the May 5 Bank Holiday.
The tower is opening up on certain occasions – like on a bank holiday – and draws a crowd of residents and visitors keen to take a look inside and from the top.
But it had to remain closed that day because of staff illness.
Clr Denham said the absence of one employee should not lead to the closure of a public landmark.
“I think it is poor that the absence of one member of staff resulted in the Jubilee Tower being closed to the public on a major bank holiday,” she said.
“Kirklees needs to attract more tourists to come to the area. We certainly have the scenery and heritage to attract them. Increasing numbers of visitors would bring a welcome boost to the local economy and help to support local businesses.
“But having the doors of the tower locked and bolted on one of the busiest days of the year will certainly not help to establish Kirklees as a recommended destination for tourists and day trippers. The council needs to look again at how it prepares itself to cover staff absence on these important public holidays to make sure its major landmarks are open to visitors.”
Despite the closure of the tower, visitors managed to make the best of their trip.
Clr Denham said: “Happily, the hill top was still very busy with people enjoying the good weather, but like them I was also disappointed at not to being able to take in the marvellous view from the top.”
Clr Liz Smaje, cabinet member for leisure services, said the staff shortage had been a last minute problem.
“I am sorry that the Victoria Tower was closed. Last minute sickness meant we were not able to provide the staffing to open the tower safely.”
However, she said the landmark would be open on May 17 and then every Saturday and Sunday from May 24 to September 14, from 12.30pm to 4.30pm.
On September 13 and 14, entry will be free as part of the Heritage Open Days weekend. On other dates, admission will be £1.30 for adults, 60p for children and £3 for a family of two adults and up to four children. Entry is free for Kirklees Passport holders.